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Cornell University Library 
F 612B6 H89 
History of Blue Earth County and biograp 

3 1924 028 912 925 

olin Overs 




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Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

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Blue Earth County 








Middle West Publishing Company 


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i> 'i" T'i A f^ '? 

The development of the historical drama of ilinnesota discloses Blue Earth 
county rising with distinct individuality from its legendary past to splendid con- 
formity with the ideals and institutions of the Twentieth century. The unfold- 
ing of the potentialities of this rarely favored region has been marked by as ter- 
rible and vivid experiences as ever accompanied the substitution of a superior for 
an undeveloped race^ and few communities grown from the travail of the border 
have more dearly purchased the right to prosperity and peace. 

"Whatever concerns mankind is of interest to me/' is a slogan by no means 
I'cstricted to the editorial sanctum, but largely is it the impelling impulse to 
historical composition. Facts alone do not comprise history, any more, than 
bricks represent the fulfilled dream of the master arcliitect. Thus the ruling 
motives have been, first, the hope of attaining a high standard of historical ac- 
curacy, and secondly, the desire to retain, as far as possible, vital human interest. 
It is realized that impartiality and catholicity of spirit are of paramount im- 
portance, and that freedom from prejudice is the best preventative against a 
reversal by posterity of the Judgment of our time. These precautions, rigidly ob- 
served, assured the utterances of Diodorus, the first Eoman historian, permanent 
authority and remembrance. 

Men of action, character, and profound purpose have carved the contour of 
this narrative. What our eyes behold is a dramatization of their characters, their 
souls flung forth in form and color. Of those whose courage and sacrifice awoke 
tlie dormant wilderness, whose crude interests comprise the cabin age, whose 
plows broke the primeval soil, whose firearms disturbed the awful silences, — 
we speak with reverance and gratitude. If we have aught of prejudice or favor, 
it reaches to the rugged sons of toil whose unerring, prophetic vision led them to 
the unhindered distances of Blue Earth county. 

Interestedly, and with due appreciation of the suffering, which he both en- 
dured and inflicted, of the inevitable appeal to all that was baneful and venge- 


ful in his nature when driven from lands occupied for centuries by his dusky 
sires, we toucli in memory the blanket garb of the fast disappe.uing Eedman, we 
vizualize his wig"wam, his dances, his trails and traditions, and share with you 
the whimsically pathetic legends of a picturesque and nature worshipping people, 
dethroned from supremacy by the sweep of progress, and left in out of the way 
]")laces to moralize upon the mournful fate of nomadic, non-agricultural and 
non-productive peoples. 

The story of tlie rise and fall of nations as ol localities teaches that human 
nature everywhere at foundation is much the same; that no race, no nation, no 
individual even is ideally good or totally bad; that the Past always has been a 
Golden Age to the pessimist, the Future always Utopian for the dreamer, and 
that broad optimism regarding the Present — a belief that on the whole conditions 
are about as good as the time pennits — is unquestionably tl.e safest philosophy. 
i\ssurance seems justified that the lessons of this history will be felt by its readers, 
and we greatly mistake tlie purpose of our story if it does not make for broader 
views, greater tolerance, truer humanitarianisiti, higher ethics, — personal and 
communal, — and for better citizenship in the broadest meaning of that term. 
Said Scliiller. the great Teuton, out of the fulnesse of profounder knowledge 
and larger experience than falls to the lot of average human kind — "Had I be- 
gun earlier and spent thirty 3'ears in studying history, I should be a far different 
find much better man than I now am." 



Blue Earth County — Aboriginal Days 1 


Indian Lenfends of Blue Earth County ^ 


French Exploi-cis — !.<> Siiciir and His Copper Di=coverv — Indian War> . . . l"i 


Explorations ot Carver, Long, Featliei-stnnhaugh and (itliers — First Stinni- 
bcat Excursions on tlic Minnesota '^'j 


First Settlement in Blue Earth County .>•! 


Events in Mankato in the Suuiiin'r of 18.")'2 39 


Blue Earth County Created— Its Prior Political History 43 


Loss of Territory — \\'innrliago Eesorvatinn — Events of IS-").") 50 


Tlie Jfapleton and Welsh Cnlnnii's — and Other .Seltlements of l.S-")r; (i!i 


The Inkpadutah ]\Iassacre of 1857 81 


Events of 1858 — Tlio Five Million Loan Bill — Division of County into Town- 
ships 95 

Events of 18G0 and 1861— Beginning of the Civil War and First Enlistments. 103 



The Great Sioux Massacre of 1802 — The Mankato and South Bend Com- 
panies at New Ulm Ill 


"Mankato Home Guards" — Surrender and Trial of the Indians — The Hang- 
ing at Mankato 125 

Legislative Aid for Settlers— Events of 18G3 and 1864 137 

Closing Events of 1864 — Murder of the Jewett Family 147 


Events in Blue Earth C'nunty After 186-') Peace Eeigns, Wheels of Progress 
put in Motion — First Eailway 159 


Events of Early Seventies — "Winona and Wells Eailways Eeach Mankato .... 1C9 


TJie Grasshoppers— Events of 1876-7— The Winter of 1881-2 and the Big 
Flood 183 


History of Minnesota A^alley — Events of 1884-G — Building of the Court 
House ; 193 


Cannon Valley Eailway — The Alliance Movement — Government Building 
at Mankato 205 

Events of 1893 to 1898— Chinch Bugs and Drouth— The Spanish War 211 

Mankato's Golden Jubilee — Eecent Events — The Conclusion 219 


Beauf brd Township 234 

Butternut Valley Township 226 

Cambria Township 328 

Cereeco Township 233 

Danville Township 235 


Decoria Township 240 

Garden City Township 347 

Jamestown Township -43 

Judson Township 353 

Le Eay Township 355 

Lime Township 359 

Lincoln Township 260 

Lyra Township 201 

Mankato Township 265 

Mapleton Township 371 

McPherson Township 374 

Medo Township '. . . . :277 

Pleasant Mound Township 279 

Rapidan Township 281 

Shelby Township 284 

South Bend Township 291 

Sterling Township 294 

Vernon Center Township 398 

Legislative Members 302 

District Judges 303 

County Oaicers 303 

Population of Blue Earth C'nunty for Ten Census Years 306 

Public Charity 306 

Bridges of Blue Earth County 307 

School Statistics 308 

Biographies 311 


ALLIANCE (Farmers)— 190, 191, 106, 207. 

AMBER CANE— 98, 148, 187. 

AMBOY— Founding of, 187, 287— First Newspaper, 195, 289— School House, 19.5, 212, 290— 
Farmers Co-operative \^'areliouse, 190 — rre>byterian Church, 212, 2SS — ifethodist 
Church, 216, 288 — German ."\Iethodist and Evangelical Churches, 289 — Depot and Mill 
Burned, 212— New Mill of Peterson & Fuller, 212, 290— Hail Insurance Co., 213— 
Banks, 216, 290— Amboy Herald, 217, 289— Water Works, 218, 290— Other Events, 193, 
196, 206. 

APPLES— 98, 108, 215. 

ATTORNEYS, County— 48, 99, 100. List of 305. 

AUDITORS, COUNTY— List of 304. 


BANDS— 186, 196, 205, 208. 

BANTfS- 165, 174, 196, 220, 222. 

BEAUFORD— Called "Winneshiek" 97, 224— Organized and Named, 160, 224— Postoflfices in, 
165, 193, 224, 225— History of, 224, 226. 



BENCH AND BAR— 95, 102, 105, 171. 



BONDS— 97. 

BOOKS— By Blue Earth County Authors— 212, 217, 221. 

BLUE EARTH COUNTY— Created and Prior History and Limits, 4.3— Organization and 
First Officers, 48 — Boundaries Curtailed, ."in —First County Offices, 60 — Various Settle- 
ments of in ],S55 05 — Receivers Lime and Jamestown, 77 — I'irst County Building, 95 — 
Liquor Licenses First Granted, O."!- Divided into Towns, 96 — First Issue of Bonds, 97 — 
First Board of County Supervisors, 98 — Early Assessed Valuation, 99 — Villages of in 
1859, 101 — County Commissioners Af;ain, 10.3 — Question of Removing County Scat, 
100— Productions, 142, 1(14, 167, 178, ISO— As Seen in 1867, 162— Court House and 
Jail, 1C3— Poor Farm Bought, 164— Bridge over Blue Eartli at Mankato, 169— First 
Becomes Solvent. 172 — ^The Nationalities of, 170— Eiirthquake, 186 — Map of, 188 — 
Briek House on Poor Farm, 193 — New Court House, 197 — New Jail, 212 — Territorial 
Society, 214 — Drj' Years, 217. 


BLUE EARTH RIVER— Location and Name, 2. 

BRIDGES— 66, 90, 169, 220. 307. 

BUILDINGS, COI'NTY— 77, 163, 197. 


BURNS CLUC-Orpnnized— Meetings of, 173, 185, 206. 211, 212. 

BUTTERNUT VALLEY— Precinct of, 79. 230— Organized and Named, 96, 162, 230— 
Cambria severed from, 163— Postoffice, 212, 231— History of, 226-228. 

CAMBRIA (Creek)— 3. 

CAMBRIA (Town)— First Settlers, 62— Horeb Church, 74— Mill, 92— Indian Raids into, 
119— Organized and Named, 163— Station, 216— History of, 228, 233. 


CANDY FACTORY— :>11, 213, 215, 210. 


LATEURILLAES— 185, 200. 

CEMENT, STANDARD— 104, 217, 221, 203. 

CEXSUS— 104, 213, 306. 

CERESCO— Precinct of, 91— Organized and Named, Olj, 104, 233— Storm in, 189— Postoffice,- 

205, 234— Cliee-e Factory, 218— History of, 233, 235. 
(HINfH BCi;'^— 200, 212, 215. 
CI-HJRCITES, (Mankato)— 52. 62, 63, 161, 164, 173, 190, 105, 214, 217, 220-2— Danville, 196— 

(Smith's Mill), 212— (Aniboy), 210— (Lake Crystal), 212, 21(i— (Mapleton), 219— See, 

aKi), Town Histories. 
Cn'IL UAR— Ft. Ridgely Troops, 100— First Enlistments, 106, 107, 108— Aid Society, 100— 

Recruits of '02, 109— Ordered Sonlh, 142— Last Recruits, 145, 148— Quota of Each 

Town, 15!) — Rosters of Soldiers (see Township Histories). 
CLIFTdN HO.USJi:- 104. 
COBB, BIG— 3. 
COJL\IERCIAi> SCHOOLS— 200, 208, 221. 

COilJJlSSlONEltS, COVNTY- First, 48, 51, 103— List of, 303. 
CORONERS— List of, 305. 

COCRT— 48, !I5, 102, 107, 180, 206, 208, 214. 
COURT, DISTRICT— List of Judges, 303— List of Clerks, 304. 
COURT HOUSE (County)— 107— (U. S.), 209. 
CRYSTAL LAKi:- 50, 98. 

DAIRY— 174. 1,00. 1114, 195— Creameries, 193, 207, 208, 215, 216. 
DANVILLE— First Settlers, 75— Called Jackson, 96— Changed to Danville, 98— Churches in, 

106— Cieamery and Store, 214— History of, 235-240— Haunted Wind Mill, 230. 
DECORIA— Named, 07. 2-!0— Organized, 164— Postoffice, 105— Hall, 211— History of, 240-243. 
EAGLE LAICE (Village)— 172, 173, 178, 181, 180. 

EAGLE LAKE (Lake)^ 207, 208, 214, 217, 250, 257-25S. 


ELECTION- 48, 58, 67, 76, 92, 102, 141. 

ELECTRIC LIGHT— 205, 100, 100, 174, 180, 212. 

EUR]':KA— 50. 



FAIR, COUNTY— 101, 105, 160— Blue Earth Valley, 189, 195— Southern Minnesota, 206, 

221— Street Fairs, 216— Other, 196. 
FARilERa INSTITUTES— 195, 107, 207. 
FIRE COMPANA'— 104, 210. 
FIRE, PRAIRIE— 66, 188— Incendiary— 214, 215. 


FLOODS— 108, 160, 178, 183, 190. 


FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS— 100, 104, 109, 141, 171, 180, 185, 195, 205, 208. 


FREMONT, GENERAL J. C— Explores Coujity, 30, 


FURS— 103, 107. 

(lAliDEN CITY (Town)— First Settlers, 55, 65, 247— Called Watonwan, 60, m', 143, 246— 

History of, 246-250. 
GARDEN CITY (Village)— St.irted and Called Fremont, 75, 247— lirowth of, 76, 91, 99, 101, 

101, 162, 180, 190, 214, 215, 217— Incorporated, 218— Sec History Garden City, 247-249. 
GERMANS- Accident to First Comers, 37— Colony From :\Io.. .'>()— Early Settlers, 40, 62, 

78, 179, 225, 233, 238, 242, 259, 280, 283. 
(aXSENG- 107. 

GOOD THUNDER- 172, ISO, 208, 211, 212, 2lS, 221. 203-26.J. 
GRANGE— (See Patrons of Husbandry.) 
GRASSHOPPERS— 92, 148, 160, 178, 180. 
HAINTED \VINDMnj:.— 239. 
BILTON— 162, 196, 275. 

HONK HONKA— Stoi-y of, 274. 
HOP CULTURE— 163, 172. 
HOSPITALS— 206, 214, 210, 221. 

INDIANS — Habits and Customs, 5, 104 — Legends of, 7 — Skeletons of, 17 — Sioux Reserva- 
tion, 45— First Troubles \\"ith, 35, 36, 41, 51, 55— A\'innebagoe>, .19, 63, 04, 69, 142, 

241, 244 — (See "Inkpadutah Massacre" and "Sioux iNIas^acre") — Rcdigious Awakening 

of, 135 — Ordination of Joseph Renville, 154. 
INKPADUTAH JIASSACRE— Causes, 81— ilurders at Okoboji and Spirit Lak.', 82— Jackson, 

83— Mankato Company, 84^0ther Incidents, 85-89, 101, 104. 
IRISH— 179, 245. 
JACKSON (LAIiE)— 217, 294. 
JAJIESTOWN- Loss of, 59— Regained, 70— First Settlers, 79, 244— Howes Mill, 92— 

Created and Named, 96, 243— Volkville, 188— Indian Murder, 244^History of, 243-24C, 
JE\"\'ETT, A. J.— Murder of, by Indians, 149. 
JOHNSON, P. K.— 33. 
JUDSON— First Settlers of, 56, 61, 253— First Church in 68— Old Village of, 77, 91, 98, 

162, 253— Organized, 96— Fort at, 140— Station of, 216, 255— Bridge, 220— History 

of, 253-255. 
KASOTA— 45. 
LAKE CRYSTAL— Founded, 169, 250— Newspapers of, 193, 206— School House, 193, 205, 

219-MilIs, 194, 206, 212, 218— Fire at, 20.5— Other Events, 194, 206, 212, 216, 218, 219, 


220, 221— History of, 250-252. 

1.ANDS— Preemption, 53— Survey of, 57— Payment Forced, 105— Homestead Act, 109, 169— 
Winnebago Lands, 140, 159, 163. 


LEGENDS— Haunted Valley, 7— Devoted Father, 9— Dirge of Maiden, 11— No Soul, 11. 

LEGISLATURE— List of Members, 302. 

LE HTLLIER— Fort of, 16— Townsite of, 90, 101, 293. 

LE RAY — First Settlers, 78, 250 — Organized and Named, 103, 255 — South Tier of Sections 
Added, 143— History of, 255-258. 

LE SUEUR, PIERRE OtlAS.- Discovers Copper on Blue Earth, 15— Ft. LeHuillier, 16— 
Journal of, 20. 

LE SUEUR (River)— 3— Gold Found on, 208. 

LlBRAl^r, PUBLIC— 212, 217. 

LIME— Loss of, 59— Regained, 70— Named, 96— Organized, 97— History of, 223, 259. 

LINCOLN— First Settlers, 65, 260— Part of Cereseo, 91— Named, 96, 97, 260— Made a Sep- 
arate Town and Renamed, 160— Iceland, 164— History of, 260-261. 

LITERARY AND MUSICAL SOCIETY— 58, 68, 178, 181, 186, 195, 247, 287. 




LONG, STEPHEN H.— Expedition of, 27. 

LOON (Lake)— 147— P. 0., 164. 

LOWELL, NEW— 160. 

LURA (Lake)— 294. 

LYNCHING— Of John Campbell, 151— Of Campbell and Liscom, 161. 

LYRA— First Settlers, 57, 161, 261, 262— Called Tecumseh, 97, 262— Organized and Re- 
named, 160, 262— Other Events in, 162, 217, 221— History of, 261-265. 

MACK, C. C— Murder of by Indians, 144. 

MePHERSON— First Settlers, 57, 274^CaUed Rice Lake, 67, 97, 274, Organized and 
Called McClellan, 141, 275— Name Changed, 148— History of, 274-277 (See "Winnebago 
Agency" and "St. Clair.") 

MADISON, (Lake)— 243, 193. 

MADISON LAICE (Village)— 195, 196, 207, 208, 211, 212, 213, 214, 218, 245, 246. 

MAIL— (Routes), 51, 57, 70, 79, 80, 90, 99, 105, 109, 160, 170— Free Delivery in Mankato,205 
—Rural Free Delivery, 217, 218, 220, 221. 

MANKATO (City)— Founding of, 33— Name, 36, 2— Early Events of, 37, 38, 39, 44, 45, 46, 
47, 51, 49, 54, 58, 62, 63, 67, 68, 69, 77, 90— First Newspaper in, 90— First Attempt 
at Village Incorporation, 95, 97 — Early Lawyers of, 95 — Village Charter, 265 — City 
Charter, 164, 265— Other Early Events, 96, 99, 111, 143, 161, 159, 160, 162, . 165, 166, 
171, 127, 173, 174, 178, 179, 180, 186- City Hall and Hubbard Mill, 186— Bridge, 188— 
Municipal Court, 191 — Cement Works, 194 — Wholesale Grocery, 195 — Street Railway, 
196, 213— Daily Paper, 205, 211— Free Delivery, 205— Saulpaugh, 206— Public Library, 212, 
217— Other Events of the Eighties and. Nineties, 190, 191, J94, 195, 196, 205, 206, 207, 
208, 209, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219— Golden Jubilee, 219— Later Events, 
220, 221, 222— Lists of Mayors, Postmasters, School Buildings, School Superintend- 
ents and Normal School Presidents, 265— History of, 265-271. 

MANIiATO CITY— 44, 45. . 

jMANKATO (Township)— Election Precinct, 48— Organized, 90, 143. 

MANKATO HOUSE— 41, 03, 190, 207. 


MAPLETON (Township)— 73, 75, 103— History of, 271-274. 


MAPLETON (Old Townsite)— 73, 92, 138, lie', 223, 271. 


JIAPLETON (Village)— Founded, 172, 272— Incorporated, 180— The Enterprise, 195, 206— 
Waterworks, 200— Fire, 213— Hill, 219— Other Events, 181, 188, 193, 194, 197, 214, 
220— History of, 272 and 273. 


MEDICAL SOCIETY— Organized, 148. 

ilEDO— Named, 97, 141, 277— First Settlers and Organization, 141, 277— Little Cobb P. 
0., 181— iiedo P. 0., 278— Murder of Mrs. Gilbert, 185, 278— Hanson's Store, 190— 
Pemberton, 223, 279— History of, 277-279. 


MIDDLETOWN— 295, 224. 

MILITIA — Mankato and Garden City Companies, 99, 174 — At Winnebago Agency, 101 — 
(See, also, "Sioux Massacre"), 137— Co. F., 193, 212—, 196, 205— Co. H, 215, 218, 
220 — Ro'-ters of Citizen Soldiers in Sioux ilassarre. 113, 123, 123, 137. 

MILLS — Van Brunt, 54 — Lyons, 54, 291 — Evans and Price, 68— Hoxie & Conklin, 70 — 
Garden City, 70— Lay and Seward & Co., 90— Butterfield, 91— A'ernon, 92, 159— Shel- 
byville, 92— Howes, 92, 244— D. P. Da\is, 92— Middlebiook Bi-os., 142 -Bierbauer & 
Eockey, 142— Eapidan, 147, 211, 210— Hilton, 147— Capwell & Co.. l.iO- On Cobb, 159— 
Burgess, 169— Red Jacket, 100, 190— llegele & Henline, 160— Woolen, 164— Folsoni, 
164 — Woodham & Burgess, 173 — Spickernian, 295— Doty, 295 — Champion, 286 — Wool- 
land jMill, 280— Linseed Oil, 17-1, 208— S;iw .Mills in the Seventies, 181— Boegen, 185— 
White Star, 185- Roller Process, 189— Jlapleton, ISO -Cable, 189, 217, 219- Lake 
Crystal, 194, 206, 212— Amboy, 212. 


MINNEOPA— Name, 4— First Settlers on Creek, 03— Townsite, 172— Well, 206, 293— Park, 
221, 293. 

.MINNESOTA RIVER— Name and Origin, 1— First Steamboats, 31, 37— Name Changed, 
39— Bridges on, 188, 220. 

:\IODERN \\'OODMEN— 213, 216. 

ilONTEVIDEO— 92, 299. 


MORSE illNERAL SPRING- 206, 258. 

NEWSPAPERS- Independent, 90, 100, 104, 134, 141— Union, 141, l-'iO, 180, ISO, 188— Free 
Press, 188, 190, 142, 193— Dail>- Free Press, 205, 218— Record, 100, 104, 106, 188— Re- 
view, 170— Daily Review, 211, 217— Garden City Ilerahl, 164— People's Journal, 170— 
Beobachter, 178 — Golden Prize, 181 — Eagle Lake Independent, 186 — ^lapleton Mes- 
senger, 188 — Censor, 189 — Winnebago Agency ^Tcssenger, 190— flarden City Messenger, 
190— lake Crystal Union, 19.3— Public Spirit, ISS, 194-Ainboy Ne^-s, 195— Enterprise, 
195— Third District Messenger, 195— Register, 195, 196— Post, 190, 210, 221— :\nvror, 
200— Mankato Herald, 206— ilinnesota Horseman, 207— Good Thunder Herald, 208— 
Amboy Herakl, 208, 217— Journal, 208— Breeze, 208, 213— Morning News. 213~:iIirror, 
213— Star, 214— Vernon Center News, 214— Eagle Lake News, 214, 217— Progress, 217— 
Bulletin, 217— Madison Lake Tribune, 220, 446. 

NEW ULM— 67. 

NICOLLET, JEAN N.— Explorations of, 28— Description of Blue Earth, 29. 

NORMAL SCHOOL— 101, 165, 178, 211, 212, 216, 222. 

NORWEGIANS— 179, 186, 227, 242, 261, 278, 283, 297. 

OLD SETTLER SOCIETIES— 165, 171. 205, 212, 214, 216, 218. 

OWEN, DR. D. D.— Survey of 30. 



PARKS— 205, 221. 

PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS~142, 181, 195, 218, 220. 

PATRONS OF HUSBANDRY— 177, 180, 185. 

PEilBERTON— 222. 



PIONEERS— Trials of, 64. 

PLEASANT MOUNIJ— Name, 279— Attached to Shelby, 79— Fiist Settlers, 279— Called 
Otsego and Willow Creek, 90, 279— Organized, 100, 280— Storm, ISS— Fair, 188— P. 0. 
in, 279, 281— Other Events, 20(1— History of, 279-281. 


1-OLITICAL CA?ilPAIGNS— IS, 70, 92, 99, 102, lOi;. 105, 148, 160, 104, 169, 174, 188, 195, 
190, 197, 207, 211, 212, 213. 

POOR FARM— 1(>4, 193— Ovei-ecrs of, 305. 


POST OFFICES— 50, 1C5, 1G9, 172. 178, ISl, 185, 193, 196— List of, 164, 205. 

POWELL, B-EX. J. W.— 70. 

PROBATE JUDGES— List of, 304. 

RAILROADS— St. Paul and Sioux City. 91, 143, LV), 105, 106, l(i9, 213— Winona and St. 
Peter, 109, 172— Mankato & Wells, 169, 177, 180, 189— Blue Earth Branch, 177, 187, 
287— Mankato, Austin & St. Cloud, 193— Cannon Valley, 193, 195, 205, 216, 218— ilil- 
wankee Extension, 220 — Alphabet, 221. 

RAPIDAN— First Settlers, 57, 00, 281— Moreland's Water Power. 09— Named De Soto, 97— 
Townsite and Name, 147- Name Changed, 148, 282— Postoffice, 169, 183, 208— Olson 
Store, 190— Mill, 195, 207, 208, 211, 216— Other Events, 102, 212, 215, 217, 218— 
History of, 281-284. 

REGISTER OF DEEDS— List of, 304. 


RICE LAKE— Precinct of, 60, 57, 60, 274. 

ROADS— To the East, 39, 40— Reno's, 47, 02, 60, 101— Improvements, 101. 

ROOT, NOBLE G.— Murder of by Indians, 143. 

liURAL FREE DELIVERY- 217, 218. 220, 221. 


S(;H001.S, PUBLIC— 47, 49, 53, 00, 07, 08, 77, 90, 99, 103, 104, 147, 149, 161, 16.3, 106, 
173, 175. 180, 190, 2flS, 209, 212, 215, 308. 

SER:\I( )N. FIRST— 40. 

SHELBY— First Settlers. 01, 70. 28-1 — Precinct, 74— Organized and Named Liberty, 96, 
97— Named Shelby, 98, 283— Other Events, 188, 189— History of, 284 to 291. 


SHELBYVILLE— 70, 92, 102, 285. 

SHERIFFS— List of, 304. 

SINTOMNIDUTAH- 51, 81, 87, 88. 

SIOUX MASSACRE 1862— Beginning of, 111— Relief of New Ulm, 112, 113— Battle of 
New Ulm, 114 — Situation in Blue Earth County, 114, 115, 116 — New Ulm Refugees, 
117, 118 — ;\Irs, Hanington and Lake Shclec Refugees, 118 — Soldiers, 118 — Raids into 
Cambria, 119 — "Butternut Valley Guards," 123 — "Frontier Rangers" and "Mankato 
Home Guards," 12.5 — Wood Lake, Camp Release, Conviction of Indians, 126 — Execution, 
127 to 130 — Religious Revival. 13.5 — Departure of Sioux, Legislative Relief, Militia 
Act, Roster of Companies, 137 — "Knights of the Forest" and Removal of Winnebagoes, 
138 — Military Expeditions and Indian Raids, 140 — Damage Claims, 141 — Murder of 
Mack and Root, 143 — ^linute Men, 145 — Murder of Jewett, 149 — Lynching of Camp- 


bell, 151 — rursuit of Other Murderers and Their FaCe, ).34, 158 — Sialp Bounty and 
Bloodhounds, 157, SOU — Military Defense, 158 — Sentences of Condemned Indians Re- 
mitted, 161. 


SMITH'S iflLL— 160, 104, 212, 258. 



SOUTH BEND (Village)— Founding of, 40— Event, in, 54, 01, 03, 07, 08, 80, 00, 91, O.i, 101. 
104, 214, 215, 217, 201. 

SOUTH BiCND (Township)— Precinct, 57— First Settlers, 60— Fir..^t Events in, 58, 201, 202— 
Zion Church, 91— ilade a Town and Boundary, 0(>, 143— Other Events, 100- Hi-^tory of, 
291 to 20-1 (See, also, "Minneopa.") 


STAGE LINES— 57, 90, 105, 109, 100, 170, 

STEAMBOATS— 31, 37, 38, 39, 40, 45, 47, 49, 53, 54, 79, 90, 97, 100, 103, 108, 109, 141, 
143, 148, 101, 103, 170, 172, 173, 190, 214. 

STERLINTI— First Settlers, 66, 294— Prairie Fire, 66— Called Mapleton, 90— Called Sterl- 
ing, 103 — Anniversary Xorwegian Church, 208, 219, 207 — Congi-egational Church, 193, 
296— History of, 294 to 298, also 195, 223, 224, 

STERLING CENTER— 211, 223, 224, 295. 

ST. CI.AIR— Named, 196— Paper, 2)4— Bank, 221— Incorporated, 222, 

STORMS— Wind and Hail, 173, 188, 214, 279 -Shoh and Blizzard, 50, 174, KiO, 180, 

STREET RAILWAY— 196, 213. 


SUNDAY SCHOOLS— 46, 147, 180, 187, 215. 



SURVEYORS, COUNTY— List of, 305, 

SWEDISH SETTLERS— 56, 179, 201, 

TCTI ANK ASK A ( Creek ) — 4 5 , 



TELEPHONE— 189, 194, 213, 214, 215, 21(j, 218, 220, 221, 

TEMPERANCE— 186, 189, 190, 

THOJISON, REV, JAS.— 52, 53. 

TIVOLI— 78, 97. 

TOWNS— Created and Named, 90, 98, 




UNDINE REGION— 1, 29, 36. 

VALUATION, ASSESSED— 68, 77, 99, 142, 178, 180, 


VERNON— 00, 91, 92, 162, 195, 299, 

VERNON CENTER- Named, 96, 98, 300— First Settlers, 00, 298— :\lynia P, 0,, 178— Edge- 
wood, 187, 195— Newspaper, 214— Other Events, 216— History of, 298 to 302. 

\\'ARR1';N'S addition to :MANKAT0— 46, 104. 

^VASHINGTON (Lake)— 243, 211. 

WAT0N\^'AN (River and Town)— 3, 05. 00, 70, 91, 138, 143, 162, 246, 249. 

\\'ELLS— 180, 206, 207, 293. 

WELSH— 61, 63, 65, 73, 74, 181, 211, 212, 214, 221, 227, 229, 254. 




WINDMILLS— South Bend, 160, 291— Shostag, 239. 

WLNNEBAGO (Indians)— 59, 60, 97, 99, 100, 105, 106, 116, 138, 139, 142, 241. 

WINNEBAGO AGENCY— 60, 62, 101, 162, 190, 196, 274, 276. 


WINTER- Cold, 68, 70, 105, 108, 160, 163, 170, 174, 183, 190, 214^MiId, 34, 50, 95, 99, 

103, 141, 143, 148, 172, 186, 215. 
WISE, JOHN C— 100, 217. 
WITA (Lake)— 259. 
WOOD INDUSTRY— 179, 207. 
Y. il. C. A.— 221. 


The letter "n" after the page numbers below is used to designate the first column and 
the letter "b" the second column of each page. We have noted quite a number of minor 
errors, but where the error does not interfere with the meaning we shall not attempt here 
to make corrections. 
Piige 25 For first head line read "Explorations of Carverj Featherstonhaugh and 

Others" and in second head line instead of "Mississippi" read 

Instead of "Mrs. J. LuUsdorf," read "Jlr,-,. G. Lulsdorff." 
Instead of "Western" read "Westerner." 
Instead of "was left" read "was let." 
Instead of "1885" in head line of Chap. VIII read "1855." 
Instead of "Blossbury" read "Blossburg." 

(Third line from bottom) add after "Shelby," "Vernon, Ceresco." 
Instead of "Berlin house" read "Berlin home." 
Instead of "hospital" read "hospitable." 

Instead of "Watonwan County" read "Watonwan CDUutry." 
Taj'lor's store started about 18(10 and Middlebrook mill in 1857 
Third line from bottom, instead of "out" read "our." 
Head "The Indians on the bluff watching." 
Read "or political preferments" instead of "of." 
(16 lines from bottom) instead of "best" read "last." 
Add to roster of soldiers "William Morgan, Co. F, Heavy Art." 
Insert in list of postmasters name of "Ray J. Straw," who served about a, 

year — ending June, 1905. 
Add to roster of soldiers : Henry . Borgmeier, Co. B, Mt. Rgs. and Nathan 
Howland, Co. H, 4th Inf.; transfer names of Henry Robertson to the 
Jamestown roster and James Gilfillan to Le Ray. 
Instead of "Winneshiek" read "Tecumseh." 
Instead of "Geo. Doty" read "Hiram B. Doty." 
Instead of "1886" read "1866." 

Instead of "Vincent ^Vessels" read "Albert A. Wessells." 
Instead of ".school house in section 7," read "school house in section 18." 
and 295 b. Instead of "Independence" read "Providence" or "Jackson Lake" 


41 lu 


44 b. 


51 a. 




61 a. 


74 b. 


75 b. 


84 a. 


S7 a. 


9-2 a. 


108 b. 


121 a. 


141 b. 

Pa ge 

158 b. 


232 b. 


254 a. 


259 b. 


202 a. 


2(i;j a. 


271 b. 


271 b. 


271 b. 


1 204 b, 




Conspicuous upon the map of the Northwest 
is the great bend of the ilinnesota, and the fact 
that the Blue Earth river here empties its waters 
gives further prominence to the spot. Indeed, 
a map of this territory fifty years ago had but 
little delineated upon it, save rivers and lakes, 
and, as water then afforded the principal means 
of transportation and furnished the chief mo- 
tive power for manufacture, it is no wonder the 
homeseeker of the period should have been at- 
tracted to so favorable a locality. 

At this remarkable bend, in the very heart of 
Southern Minnesota lies the County of Blue 
Earth. Its name is derived from the noble 
stream which flows through its center, and 
which, with its many tributaries spreads like a 
branching tree covering the whole county with 
a net work of rivers and creeks, so that Nicollet, 
the French scholar and explorer, designated it 
the "Undine Eegion." 

No county in the State has as many rivers as 
Blue Earth. With two exceptions only, each of 
its twenty-three townships has one or more rivers 
or good sized creeks within its borders. These 
streams comprise the Minnesota, Blue Earth, 
Watonwan, Le Sueur, Maple, Big C()bb, Little 
Cobb and Little Cottonwood, together with Min- 
neopa, Cambria, Perch and Willow Creeks, and 
a great number of smaller brooks. Each of these 
water courses, as it meanders in its deep cut 
valley far out across the prairies, bears along its 
bluffs long strips of fine timber, which afforded 
the settlers in the early days abundant building 
material, fencing and fuel. On the edges of 
these timber belts the log cabins of the pioneers 
found shelter from the wintry blasts. 

All these rivers, especially the Blue Bartli, 
Watonwan and the Le Sueur, were also well 
adapted for the development of water powers, 
and their banks were lined during the first two 
or three decades after the advent of the white 
man with sawmills and grist mills. These num- 

erous water channels, also, drain the land, di- 
versify the soil, and give the country a most pic- 
turesque appearance, thus ministering to both 
the physical and esthetic needs of man. 

The Minnesota is the largest stream in the 
county and for over eighteen miles forms its 
northern boundary and for five miles further 
its western boundary after the river's abrupt 
northern bend at Mankato. It is one of the 
most ancient rivers of the state and traces of 
it? primeval bed, cut deep in the stratified rocks 
of "The ages before man" are pointed out by 
geolog-ists at Mankato and elsewhere. Then 
ctime the glacier period and buried this portion 
of our state — river and all — under from one- 
hundred to one-hundred and fifty feet of silt. 
When the lofty mouutains of ice had retreated 
cur river began excavating through the debris in 
quest of its ancient bed. A great inland sea 
covering the Eed Eiver Valley and extending far 
into Canada, known to geologists as "Lake Ag- 
aisiz" became its source. A majestic stream it 
must have been in those days of old, as it swept 
on its course half a mile or more in width. 
Y^^^at we now call the "second iench" was then 
its ordinary bed. The bluffs of the Minnesota 
and the Mississippi at their union near St. Paul 
match, forming one continuous valley of like 
dimensions, while the channel of the Mississippi 
above, is wholly dissimilar and insignificant by 
comparison, showing that the main river once 
flowed by way of the Minnesota. In time Lake 
Agassiz broke through its northern barrier and 
was drained into Hudson ha}', and the new river 
then formed, we call today, "The Eed Eiver of 
the North." Thus deprived of its main source, 
the Minnesota, as well as that portion of the 
Mississippi, which formed its continuation as 
one great river, soon shrank to a fraction of its 
former size and grandeur, and we have our mod- 
ern riparian system. 

"Minnesota," is the Sioux or Dakota name 


of the river, given it centuries ago by the 
warlike aborigines, who lived, hunted and fought 
along its banks. It is a compound word — 
"Minne" meaning "water" and "sota," gen- 
erally translated "sky tinted.'' Scholars dif- 
fer as to the real meaning of "sota." Eev. S. E. 
Eiggs, the great Sioux missionary and author of 
the "Dakota Dictionary" and the explorer Peath- 
crstonhaugh say the w^ord means "clear" and cite 
the word "Kasota" as proof, which they say 
means "Clearing-" or "to clear off" as where land 
is cleared of timber or brush. 

The French explorer J. W. jSTicollet, a very 
careful scholar gives 'loleared" as a more literal 
moaning and as his authority states that the 
I'rench voyagers, who were as familiar with the 
Dakota tongue as the Indians themselves, so 
rendered it, and that the Sioux word for 'T)leared 
eye" was "Ishta-sota." Schoolcraft claims that 
the word means '"bluish gray;" others declare it 
to mean "whitish, cloudy or turbid." Eev. G. 
H. Pond, a noted Sioux missionary and an ex- 
cellent authority on the Sioux language, main- 
tains that the word is best rendered, "sky tinted" 
and that it refers to that peculiar whitish tint 
of our Minnesota sky. Dr. J. P. Williamson, 
who was the first white boy born in our Min- 
nesota valley and who has spent all his life as a 
missionary among our Sioux Indians and re- 
cently has published an English Dakota Dic- 
tionary in a recent letter says, "The Minnesota 
river they (The Sioux) called Wah-Kpa Minne- 
sota "The River of Sky tinted water," and in 
his dictionary he renders the word "clear sky" as 
"Kasota." Evidently the name was given to 
the river by the Indians because of the minute 
particles of whitish clay found suspended in its 
waters, which therefore are not transparently 
pure nor yet muddy, but tinted like our clear 

The Chippeways who dwelt among the somber 
pines of the north called it "Askiibogi-sibi" 
(green leaf river). 

The French, who were the first white people 
to discover the river and for nearly two centuries 
used it in their commerce with the natives, 
named it the St. Pierre, some think after Le 
Gardour De St. Pierre, one of their military 
officers and explorers, but others claim it was 

after Le Sueur, whose christian name was 
"Pierre." This name Anglicized as, "8t. Peters," 
was continued by us until 1854. In 1853 the 
Legislature of Minnesota at the instigation of 
Martin McLeod, then a member, sent a mem- 
orial to Congress praying that the ancient name 
of the river be restored to it. Moved by this 
ipquest and the personal solicitation of General 
Siljley, then our delegate in Congress, the Com- 
mittee on Territories through its chairman, 
Stephen A. Douglas, recommended the change, 
and on May, 1854, the river was rechristened, 
the "Minnesota." As to the important part this 
ancient river played in the discovery and devel- 
opment of our county will appear elsewhere in 
this history. 

The river next in importance as to size and 
value in the history of the County is the Blue 
Earth. Since steam has usurped the place for-' 
merly held by water in the transportation and 
manufacturing industries of our land, both rivers 
have lost much of their former prestige in the 
commercial world. Perhaps the historian of the 
future, when electricity has supplanted steam, 
will have to assign to this stream, with its 
magnificent water powers, the economic superior- 
ity. It is distinctively the river of our county, 
flowing through its very center, and fittingly 
bestows upon it its name. This appelation is 
a translation of the Indian name of the river, 
"Mahkato." "Mahka" is the Sioux for "earth", 
and "to" for "l^lue" or "green." Samuel J. 
Brown, the son of Major Joseph Brown, by a 
Sioux mother, who has been born and brought 
up among Sisseton Sioux of this locality, 
stoutly maintains that there is a nasal in the 
\vord and that the true pronunciation and spell- 
ing of the word is "Manka" and not "Mahka" 
and he is corroborated by three other educated 
Sioux half breeds: William M. Eobertson, Smi- 
ley Sheperd, and Thomas A. Robertson. Cer- 
tainly no better authority on the Dakota than 
these four men. This difference may be due to 
dialectic peculiarities of the various tribes. The 
name was given to the river by the Indians 
because of a very peculiar bed of greenish clay, 
found in a limited quantity upon its banks, 
about four miles from its mouth. This clay 
was very highly p'rized by the Indians as a 


pigment with which to paint themselves. They 
imagined that it possessed a peculiar virtue to 
protect them from the missels of their foes. 
The French called the stream the '^'"erde" or 
"green" river. In view of the color of the clay 
this is a more accurate rendering of "To" than 
the English word "Blue," though both are tech- 
rically correct, as the Sioux language makes no 
distinction between the two colors. 

The Blue Earth is a very crooked stream, al- 
most doubling upon itself ever and anon. It 
also abounds in rapids and often has abrupt 
banks — "cut banks" the Indians called them. 

Its main western tributary, the Watonwan, 
empties into it not far from the center of the 
county. This river has preserved its ancient 
Dakota name, the meaning of which now is some- 
what uncertain. Some derive it from "Wata" 
(a canoe) "wan" (See), others say it comes 
from "Ton wan" (to see into or through) and 
may refer to the clearness of its water or to 
tlie outlook afforded by the great prairies which 
border it. Still others claim "Waton" (bait) 
"Wan" (where we get) is the true meaning. 

Perch creek is a tributary of the Watonwan 
and flows into it from the south, after traversing 
about fifteen miles through the Townships of 
Pleasant Mound and Ceresco, in the southwest 
corner of Blue Earth County. It is the outlet 
of Perch Lake, which lies just beyond the county 
boundary. The origin of the name is unknown, 
possibly a translation of the Indian name. The 
lake and creek -appear with their present name 
on Nicollet's map, published in 1843. 

Willow Creek is another stream, which drains 
the southwest part of the county. It flows a 
little east of north through the towns of Pleas- 
ant Mound and Shelby and empties into the 
BJue Earth. Its name was given it by one of 
the first settlers mainly because 'of the number 
of willows growing upon its bank, and probably 
in part, in memory of one of the many streams 
of the same name found in the Eastern States. 

The main tributary of the Blue Earth from 
the east is the Le Sueur river, rising beyond the 
cast line of the County, it crosses that line near 
itf, center and flows westerly until it empties 
into the Blue Earth about two miles and a 
lialf above its mouth. Its "present name was 

given it by Nicollet and other early map makers 
in honor of the French explorer, Jean Le Sueur, 
who in irOO built a fort at its mouth. On the 
earliest French maps it is designated as the "St. 
Remy " and the "St. Henry." Its Indian name 
is unknown, except that its upper half is called 
the "Chankasna" (shaking wood) on Nicollet's 

The jMaple river flows northward through the 
center of the county and empties into the Le 
Sueur about four miles above its mouth. The 
Sioux called it the "Tewapa-Tankiyan" (Big 
Water-lillyroot) river. It was first called "The 
JEaple" Ijy the United States surveyors in 1854. 

The Big Cobb rises some distance beyond the 
southeast corner of the county and flowing north- 
westerly, mingles its waters with the Le Sueur 
about a mile above tlie mouth of the Maple. The 
Indians knew it as "Tewapadan" (Little Lilly 
root river). The earliest designation of the 
stream as "Big Cob," is on the plats made by 
the government surveyors in 1854. A branch of 
the Big Cobb, which unites with it in the north- 
east corner of Beauford Township, was chris- 
tened on the same government plats, 'TJittle 
Cob." Later the spelling in case of both rivers 
was changed to "Cobb." 

In the extreme northwest corner of the county 
two streams empty into the Minnesota within 
about eighty rods of each other, known as 
"Cambria Creek" and the 'Tjittle Cottonwood." 
The latter has its source in the northeast corner 
of Cottonwood County, and flows easterly clear 
across Brown County and a small corner of 
Blue Earth. Its name is a translation of the 
old Indian name "Waraju" as is also the Big 
Cottonwood. Near the mouth of the Big Cotton- 
wood tliere used to be a very fine grove of 
large cottonwood trees and it is from this 
grove the Indian name was derived. 

The Little Cottonwood, also, has groves of the 
same species of trees, but whether it was from 
this fact, or because the two rivers ran parallel, 
in near proximity, and were quite similar in 
many characteristics, that the Dakotas called 
tliem by the same name, cannot now be deter- 
mined. Cambria Creek was so named by Henry 
Hughes in the latter part of the sixties after 
the town through which it flows. Its Indian 


name is unknown. It is about six miles in 

Minneopa Creek is the outlet of Lilly and 
Crystal lakes, and flows into the Minnesota a 
rriile or two above the Blue Earth. It is about 
six miles in length and has on it the famous 
waterfalls which are responsible for its name. 
It is the only body of water in the County be- 
sides the Minnesota and the Watonwan, which 
still retains its Indian name though a little ab- 
breviated. The full Dakota name was Minne 
(water) inne (falls) nopa (two). As the name 
indicates there are two falls. The first or upper 
one is from six to eight feet in -height, and about 
six rods below this comes the main falls, about 
fifty feet high. These picturesque falls with the 
wild, romantic scenery about them, have each 
year for the past half century, attracted hund- 
reds of sightseers, and, since the establishment 
here of a state park in 1905, the place has be- 
come a great resort for picnics and pleasure 

' The county also has a number of very fine 
lakes. None of them are large and yet the mean- 
dered lakes of the county occupy about 14,000 
acres of its territory. Lake Madison is the lar- 
gest and most important with an area of nearly 
two thousand acres. Lura and Jackson lakes in 
the south part of the county are next in size, 
comprising ten to twelve thousand acres apiece. 
Then comes Loon and Crystal lakes in the north- 
west part of the County. 

The County is exceptionally well timbered. 
The bulk of its northeast portion was embraced 
in that great forest area of the State known as 
the Big Woods. As already stated, each of the 
many rivers and creeks extend along belts of fine 
timber through all the prairie regions, while the 
lakes are enclosed in beautiful groves. When 
the white man first came to this undine region 
the great forests were unbroken. Cottonwoods, 
alms, black walnuts, butternuts, grew abundantly 
in the valleys — many of giant size. While the 
hillsides and uplands of the forest region were 
thickly covered with basswood, elm, oak, hickory, 
hackberry and soft and hard maple, often of 
lordly dimensions. Along the outskirts of the 
forest grew large groves of graceful poplars. 
In the openings along the valleys and here and 

there along the edges of the upland woods, were 
found the plum tree groves filling the air with 
sweet perfume in the spring and laden with 
luscious fruit, red, white, yellow and speckled, 
in the autumn. Two or three varieties of the 
wild gooseberry, raspberry, elderberry, currants, 
grapes and many other wild fruits were abund- 
ant. So rich was the native flora of the county 
that several chapters might be devoted to it. 
The natural fauna of the county, too, is too 
lui'ge a subject for me to more than barely 

Until little over a hundred years ago the 
bufi'alo for centuries unknown used to roam in 
vast herds over the county, and their bones 
even now are frequently found, buried in river 
sands or boggy swamps. Some ten or twelve 
years ago, when a period of unusual drought 
revealed the bottom of a part of Swan Lake, 
a few miles north of this county, the skulls 
and bones of several hundred of these animals 
■\rere discovered, victims doubtless of some great 
animal tragedy in the long ago. Perhaps the 
ice broke under their combined weight, or maybe 
they were crowded into the boggy lake in a 
great stampede from some prairie fire. When 
Le Sueur in 1700 established his fort at the 
mouth of the river, which now bears his name, 
his men were able to kill four hundred buffaloes 
in a short time and they constituted the main 
sustenance of the garrison. Before the advent 
of the white settlers these ancient herds of the 
western prairies had been driven by hunters far 
toward the setting sun. Only once or twice was 
a stray straggler seen in the county by the 
pioneer. The moose and the elk in the bygone 
centuries were common in the woods and valleys 
of the county, but they also had disappeared 
before the coming of the white man. Beavers, 
also, were numerous in all the lakes and streams 
and their dams may still be traced in many 
places. When Le Sueur was here building his 
frrt in the winter of 1700-1, he purchased of the 
Indians, of this locality three hundred beaver 
robes of nine skins each. Long before the ar- 
rival of the first immigi-ants these animals were 
also extinct. Deer, however, were quite plenti- 
ful long after the settlements of the whites had 
began, so also were the wolves and foxes. An 


occasional black bear was, also, found. The 
red and white squirrels, the raccoon, the mink, 
the muskrat and many other small animals were 
found here by the whites in great numbers. 
Jjucks, geese, prairie chickens, pheasants, pig- 
eons and birds without number filled the forests, 
kkes and prairies, and remnants of the wild 
game of the country can still be found. No 
county in the state excelled Blue Earth in its 
abundance of animal or vegetable life. 

The soil, with ^■ery limited exceptions, is a 
ht,avy bla-ck loam with clay subsoil. There is 
very little sandy ground in the county and but 
small areas are flat and boggy. As a rule the 
land gently undulates affording excellent drain- 
age. Inexhaustible quarries of stone, adapted 
for building and for lime and cement, are found 
ill the vicinity of Mankato, and beds of clay 
suitable for brick and pottery are abundant in 
the same locality. A ledge of brown magnesia 
stone is capable of a very high and beautiful 
polish and it was recently used in wainscoting 
the interior of the new magnificant State Capi- 
tol with charming effect. 

The earliest inhabitants of the county known 
to the whites were the Sioux or Dakota In- 
dians. These aborigines had a tradition that a 
few centuries ago the lowas and Omahas occu- 
pied all of the Minnesota Valley. They were 
constantly at war with them and bloody raids 
were common from time immemorial. The 
Sioux then lived around Mille Lac and Lake 
Superior. With the aid of firearms, which they 
obtained from the French traders, the Sioux 
finally succeeded, after a desperate struggle, in 
driving both lowas and Omahas out of the 
Minnesota and Blue Earth Valleys and occupied 
tliis wealthy region for their hunting grounds. 
The date of this occupation of the county by 
the Sioux was, as near as it can be fixed by 
tlieir traditions, about the first of the seventeenth 
century. When Le Sueur visited the county in 
1700 he seems to have found the Sioux then in 

The Sioux or Dakotas, who were the only 
aborigines known to the whites, were divided 
into roving bands of hunters. Most of those, 
who claimed Blue Earth County as their usual 
hunting ground, belonged to the Sisseton branch 

of the nation. When the white settlers first 
came to the County the Indians claimed Sleepy 
Lye, whose principal village was usually located 
on Swan Lake in Nicollet County, as their 
head chief. 

An Indian chief, however, has very little au- 
thority. Government and law with them are 
in the most rudementary state. For the most 
part in our Sioux communities each person was 
a law unto himself. They seldom congregated 
in large villages, but usually went in small 
groups of four or five families, associated to- 
gether for mutual protection, each group having 
some person, who seemed better adapted than 
the rest to take the lead and was therefore made 
a sort of sub-chief. The real power, however, 
remained in the hands of the warriors, and no 
important move could be taken without a coun- 
cil of all the braves. 

They had no fixed habitation, but lived in 
conical tents or teepees, which during the sum- 
mer, they constantly moved from place to place 
as they wandered far and near in quest of game. 
The winters were spent in some wooded valley, 
\i'here there was shelter and fuel. The bottom 
of the teepee would be banked about a foot to 
keep out the wind and frost. A fire was kept 
burning in tlie center and a hole was left open 
at the apex, where some of the smoke escaped. 
C'ccasionally a bark hut would be erected. Ow- 
ing to their utter improvidence in making pro- 
vision for the morrow, the Indians often suf- 
ficed from hunger during the long cold months 
of winter. Sometimes a few bushels of wild 
rice and roots would be laid aside against such 
evil days. During the summer months, how- 
ever, when berries, roots and game were abund- 
ant, they led a free and happy life. 

They were not at all particular as to their 
food. They ate all kinds of animals and every 
part of them. Muskrats, wolves, a dead horse 
or cow, and no matter how putrid the flesh 
might be, they ate all with a relish. A fat dog 
was considered a great delicacy and formed the 
principal dish at their great feasts. The buf- 
faloes were the principal game of the prairie 
Indians, and it was the custom of the Blue 
Earth County tribes to go on one or more buf- 
falo hunts each year. In the spring they flocked 


into the great hard maple groves of Maakato 
and vicinity and gorged themselves sick on 
maple sugar, of which they were very fond. 
They were not over cleanly in its manufacture 
and frequently tossed their muskrats, and turtles, 
and ducks just as they were killed into the 
boiling sap to cook. 

The Dakotas, however, were not devoid of 
many virtues. As a rule they did but little in- 
jury to the settler or his property. Wholly 
unaccustomed, as they were, to any restraint 
of law, and feeling aggrieved by the aggressions 
of the white men upon their ancient domain, it 
is to their credit that they were seldom guilty 
of any special crimes. They were hospitable 
but expected everybody else to be the same. 
I'hey had very little conception of the right of 
personal property. If anyone had anything 
more than he needed to satisfy his present wants, 
it was considered the proper thing to divide it 
with any who lacked. 

In their religious views, like all ignorant 
and heathen people, they were quite supersti- 
tious. Every tree and stone and grassy knoll, 
and river and lake they imagined to be the 
abode of some spirit. 

An Indian would come across a stone or 
tree in his path, and would decorate it with a 
fillet of grass, and would offer a little tobacco 
or perhaps a bird or dog to the spirit, which 
lie supposed lived there. The mounds at the 
mouth of the Blue Earth they regarded as the 
habitations of some gods, and they were called 
"Wauk-en-teepee," "The houses of the gods." 

Their method of burial was to wrap the 
body in a robe or blanket and lay it on the 
lower branches of some spreading tree, or on a 
scaffold constructed by laying a few poles on 

some forked posts. After the flesh had decayed, 
tJie bones would be gathered, and a mound 
would be erected by the squaws carrying earth 
in baskets and piling it over them. These 
m.ounds often attained to the height of eight 
or ten feet, and were usually put in prominent 
places, on the top of a hill, or on the crest of 
some high bluff. This was done that the friends 
of the departed might have his grave in sight, 
as it was supposed every deceased person had 
two souls, one of which tarried in the vicinity 
of the grave, while the other departed to the 
happy hunting ground. 

Although the Indians made their homes in 
this county for hundreds, if not thousands, of 
years, yet within a year after their departure 
no trace of their long occupation could be 
found, save an occasional burial mound, a flint 
arrow head or stone hammer head picked up 
at rare intervals from the soil. Their wigwam 
architecture they carried away with them, their 
agriculture never exceeded a few hills of com 
planted by the squaws in some river bottom. 
Their transportation facilities consisted simply 
of a dug out canoe on water, and, on land, two 
slender poles, the front ends of which were 
fastened one on each side of a wolflsh looking 
dog or shaggy pony, while the rear ends drag- 
ged upon the ground, carrying bundles of house- 
hold goods and the smaller papooses. Their 
literature was confined wholly to oral traditions 
and wigwam stories, but without the written 
page, these all perished with the telling, save 
an occasional fragment picked up by some white 
trader or missionary. Some of these bits of 
Indian lore, which have specially to do with 
Blue Earth County, we shall consider in our 
next chapter. 



The art of the story teller was well developed 
and much in vogue among our Sioux Indians. 
The frequent feasts and the long winters, 
when the people were confined to their wigwams, 
stimulated greatly the growth of this kind of 
entertainment. A good story teller was ever in 
gj'eat demand and in high honor and this en- 
couraged the cultivation of his talent. Very 
few of these Indian tales have been saved, but 
the few we have show how rich the treasure 
must have been. The country of the Blue 
Earth was ever a favorite haunt of the red 
man. Its abundant fruits and game, its va- 
ried and charming scenery and, because of 
these, its many memories of a happy and hoary 
past, all tended to make it rich in legendary 
lore. Only a few of these wild tales from the 
wigwam have I been able to glean. The shades 
of oblivion had long buried the great bulk of 
them in the ashes of the Sisseton camp fires, 
cold now on the banks of the Mahkato for many 
a year. The first story I shall give was orig- 
inally translated into a civilized tongue by an 
old French voyager and is entitled: 


A few miles south of Mankato there is a 
beautiful valley located in the angular piece 
01 land formed by the confluence of the Waton- 
wan and Blue Earth rivers. Its romantic posi- 
tion and beautiful scenery impart to it an in- 
describable loveliness. It nestles mid lofty hills 
covered with sturdy oaks, "'Monarchs of the For- 
est," which shade it from the summer's heat, and 
shelter it from the wintry blasts. In its center 
a transparent lake mirrors the beauty of its 
wooded banks, almost everywhere heavily fes- 
tooned with vines of the Wahoo and wild grape. 
A small sparkling stream, the outlet of the lake. 

gently meanders through lovely groves, until it 
reaches and is lost ia the turbid waters of the 
Watonwan. Springs of the purest water gush 
licre and there from the hillsides. 

The Indians told of dark deeds done in this 
valley and dared not go near it, as tradition 
said no one had ever returned ahve who had 
dared to enter its enchanted bounds. Spirits 
of warriors clothed in bodies of mangled flesh 
and covered with ghastly, gaping wounds were 
seen by those belated in the chase, who happened 
inadvertently to pass by its dreaded boundaries, 
and many a warrior told of hearing awful and 
unearthly moans and shrieks from those, who 
had entered it against the will of the great 
spirit, while huge specters of smoke and lurid 
flame were seen to issue from it. 

War Eagle was a young and mighty chief of 
the Sissetons, who dwelt ia the rich country 
at the great bend of the Minnesota, by the 
mouth of the Blue Earth. In the chase and on 
many a battle field he had disting-uished himself 
far above all the mighty men of his tribe, for 
he was powerful of body and stout of heart. In 
the great councils of his nation, his manly form 
towered a head taller than all the great war- 
riors and his advice never went unheeded. He 
was indeed, the idol of his tribe. All sang his 
jiraises and many a maiden had cast longing 
eyes at him and many a dusky mamma had 
schemed and planned ia vain to catch him for 
her daughter. He, however, was of a melan- 
clioly disposition and would not wed. He was 
fond of wandering alone in meditation, and the 
solitude of the forest was his favorite haunt. 
Here his keen eye and quick brain had ac- 
quainted him with all the secrets of nature. He 
reveled in her beauty and rejoiced in her 

One day in the heat of the chase he pursued 
a deer into this enchanted valley without realiz- 


ing where he was until in its midst. Capti- 
vated by its beauty, he dismissed every super- 
stitious fear, and concluded to make this vale 
his place of refuge from those who were trying 
to force him to wed a girl he did not love. 
Many a day he spent in this delightful spot, 
musing alone in its peaceful solitude. 

One day a young brave came breathless into 
the village which lay near the confines of this 
valley with the startling intelligence that a 
war party of their dreaded foes the Chippeways 
were camped on the plateau near the mouth of 
the Blue Earth. The village which but a few 
moments before, was the very picture of tran- 
quility was suddenly transformed to the wildest 
commotion. The women and children ran hither 
and thither in a panic of fear. The men has- 
tily decked themselves for war, and hurried to 
the council lodge. Soon a band of chosen 
warriors issued forth led by War Eagle, their 
trusted chief, who was anxious to avenge the 
death of a very dear friend, who but a fort- 
night before had been waylaid and killed by 
some prowling Chippeways, while hunting in 
the valleys of the Little Waraju, or Cottonwood 

The warlike expedition was not long in reach- 
ing the neighborhood of their deadly enemies. 
Crawling stealthily up through the bushes which 
skirted the sides of the table land on which 
their foes were encamped they got within a few 
rods of their tepees. They soon discovered that 
they outnumbered the Chippeways more than 
four to one. In view of this fact, and of the 
further reason, that it was hardly yet past the 
hour of noon, it was determined to attack at 
once and not wait for a daybreak surprise, after 
the usual mode of Indian warfare. It was a 
dtsperate fight. The Chippeways were all tried 
warriors, and dearly did each brave sell his life 
on that bloody field. 

One Chippeway chief at last only remained, 
but though all his friends had fallen, he still 
stood lilfe a rock in front of his wigwam, hold- 
ing alone the whole Sioux tribe at bay. The 
slain lay about him in heaps, but his great 
strength and courage seemed yet unabated. At 
last a crowd of Sioux warriors made a rush 
upon him and although half of them fell be- 

neath his mighty blows, still, by their over- 
v/helming numbers, they were on the point of 
wrenching his scalp from his head, when War 
Eagle who had watched with admiration the • 
chief's splendid valor and had been won by it, 
rushed in between him and his foes and com- 
pelled his brother Sioux to desist. 

As the Chippeway chief arose it was to wit- 
ness some of the Sioux dragging from his wig- 
wam his only daughter, a beautiful maiden of 
tender years, for whose life and honor he had 
fought so desperately that day. Turning, how- 
ever, to his noble benefactor he committed his 
daughter to his care, and with stately tread 
walked into the neighboring woods and disap- 

The Sioux warriors glared like wolves at his 
retreating form and were greatly chagrined and 
displeased to have their foe thus escape, but 
none dared openly to oppose the will of War 
Eagle. But their hearts were ugly toward him, 
and as they mourned in the scalp dance their 
many friends and relatives slain, it made them 
foel still uglier. 

War Eagle took the captured Chippeway mai- 
den in accordance with her father's request as his 
portion of the booty, and the famous young chief, 
who had rejected all the fair daughters of his 
own tribe, was at once smitten by the great 
beauty and charming ways of this alien girl. 
He brought to her the choicest game of the 
forest, and waited upon her as upon a princess. 
His affections met with a hearty response on the 
part of the maiden and they were very happy 

The treatment War Eagle gave the maid, so 
different from that due a slave, still further 
aroused the jealousy and hatred of his tribe, 
and in a secret council it was determined that 
the beautiful young Chippeway must die. The 
plot was to assassinate her while her lover was 
away on a hunt, but War Eagle returned much 
sooner than was expected, and just in time to 
save his fair bride from the cruel hands of the 
savage executioners. Quickly burying his toma- 
hawk in the skulls of four of them, he seized 
his beautiful wife and fled with her to the en- 
chanted valley, near whose dread border no pur- or avenger of blood dared venture. Here 


for many moons they lived most happily to- 
gether. The forest game had here, also, found 
an asylum and was much more abundant than 
elsewhere. So the young brave and his fair 
bride did not lack for food. 

One day, however, War Eagle pursued a deer 
some distance into the forest beyond the confines 
of his valley, and being discovered by his foes, 
an ambush was quickly made for him, and he 
v.'as smitten by a shower of arrows, two of which 
pierced his heart. He fell with a shriek, which 
reached the ears of his young bride, and in a 
few moments she was by his side, but it was 
too late to bid his manly soul adieu, he had gone 
to the happy hunting grounds. Bending over 
liis majestic form — majestic even in death — she 
drew from its sheath his sharp hunting knife 
and, plunging it into her own fair bosom, she 
fell dead upon the body of her noble lover. 

After this the enchanted valley became 
more "Waul-iin" than ever to the Sisseton Da- 

The next story I shall give is partly at least 
historical — the scene being laid since the found- 
ing of Fort Snelling, and the principal charac- 
ters were well known personages, some four 
score years ago. Indeed the entire tale may be 
the romance of a real life, for the true story 
of many a life is stranger than fiction. The 
tale may be entitled : 


About the beginning of the last century there 
lived at the mouth of the Blue Earth a noted 
Indian chief, named Ahkitchetah-dutah. His 
village was among the principal ones belonging 
to the powerful Sisseton tribes, who called 
themselves the Miakechakesa and who inhabited 
the country at the great bend of the Minnesota, 
and the valleys of the Blue Earth. 

Ahkitchetah-dutah was possessed of very 
strong affections, and these were bestowed upon 
a maiden of his tribe, who was distinguished 
hy her comeliness of person and sweetness of 
mind. His young wife, however, died when their 
only child was an infant. This great sorrow 
ever after clouded the life of the chief and 
he never remarried. His whole soul was now 

wrapped up in his only son, Mahzah Kootay. 
The child grew into young manhood, and be- 
came a leader among the young braves of his 
\illage. In the summer of 1819 Mazah Kootay, 
accompanied by a number of other young braves, 
went out upon the plains to hunt buffalo. Wlien 
in the vicinity of where Council Bluffs now 
stands, they fell in with some designing traders, 
who sold them liquor. In some drunken brawl 
our young brave and another young Indian shot 
and killed one of the United States soldiers, 
and then fled home to the valley of the ]\Iinne- 

The government at once demanded the sur- 
render of the murderers from the Indians and 
withheld the payment of all annuities to them 
until the demand was complied with. At last 
upon the ad\ice of Colin Campbell the trader, 
the Sissetons decided in a council held at Big 
Stone Lake, that the two }oung men, who ad- 
mitted th(5ir guilt, should surrender themselves 
to the government for trial. Accordingly Mah- 
za Kootay and his companion, attended by a 
number of their friends and relations, repaired 
to Fort Snelling to comply with the decision of 
the council. 

Ahkitchetah-dutah, the aged father, was over- 
whelmed with grief and went with the party 
determined to offer himself as a substitute for 
his son. ^\'hen within a mile of the fort the 
party halted, and the old chief and the two 
young brakes painted themselves black, stuck 
splinters of wood through their arms at the 
elbows to show their contempt of pain, had 
their hands fastened with thongs of buffalo 
hide, sang their death dirge, and, bidding their 
companions farewell, marched into the . fort on 
November 12th, 1820, flying a British flag, 
which was given them in the late war. Col. 
Snelling, who was in command of the fort, had 
a fire built ui the middle of the parade grounds, 
and the British flag publicly burned with due 
ceremony. The earnest appeal of the old chief 
to be substituted in place of his son, however, 
was rejected by the officer, but he was held for 
some time as a hostage, while the two young 
men were sent under military escort to St. 
Louis for trial. Here they were detained in 
prison for some months, but no witness being 



found against them, they were finally released 
by the officials, their case being dismissed for 
want of prosecution. 

While on his way home, however, he hap- 
pened to run across the path of the deadliest 
enemy a Sioux Indian could meet, in the per- 
son of the old Indian fighter, John Moredock. 
Many years before, when Moredock was a young 
man, all his folks had been butchered with all 
the horrors of Indian cruelty by a party of 
Sioux Indians, as they were coming up the 
Mississippi river in a flat boat. Crazed to des- 
peration by this awful deed, John Moredock 
sv?ore a terrible vengeance upon the whole Sioux 
nation. Not satisfied with killing all the mur- 
derers, he made it the business of his life to 
kill every Sioux he could find. An unerring 
n^arksman, and the most desperate fighter in all 
the west, he was for years the terror of all the 
Sioux tribes. 

Mazah-Kootay was coming through a piece 
of timber when he met the old hunter. In a 
raoment each man was behind a tree and watch- 
ing his opportunity. Moredock put his hat on 
tJie end of his ramrod and reached it out just 
a little, when instantly Mazah Kootay put a 
ball through it, and Moredock fell with it as 
though killed. The Indian rushed up immed- 
iately to scalp his victim, when he suddenly 
arose and shot him dead, and Moredock added 
one more scalp to the scores he already carried. 
Ignorant of his true fate, Ahkitchetah-dutah 
looked in vain for the return of his son. The 
whites assured him that his son had been, re- 
leased by them, but the old chief would not be- 
lieve them; he was firmly persuaded the pale 
faces had killed him and his grief was pitiable. 
"When Major Long explored the Minnesota river 
in 1820 he did not dare visit the mouth of the 
Blue Earth, because of the disaffection of the 
Indians there, due to the sorrow of their chief. 
The chief finding his grief unbearable devoted 
himself to death, after the Indian fashion, and 
lived alone, away from his tribe, in the hope 
someone would kill him, but the wild beasts 
avoided him, and the scalp hunting Chippeways 
fled from him. 

One day a band of twenty young braves of 
his tribe was formed to go to the famous pipe- 

stone quarry. The country was known to be 
infested by prowling bands of the Saques and 
Foxes, who had long been at enmity with the 
Sioux. Ahkitchetah-dutah went with this band 
and on the journey hung behind in the hope he 
might be killed, but to no avail, for no enemy 
appeared. Having reached on their homeward 
journey a valley of the Watonwan, about four 
miles above its confluence with the Blue Earth, 
they camped for the night. As they were so 
near home their usual vigilence was relaxed. 
At day break next morning they were awakened 
Ijy a volley of bullets, and five of the Sioux 
fell dead. This was Ahkitchetah-dutah's .oppor- 
tunity and, seizing his arms, he rushed forth 
to meet the charge of the enemy alone and slew 
four of them before he himself fell, riddled with 
bullets. This sudden and desperate act of the 
old chief disconcerted the Saques and Poxes in 
their charge, and gave the _ Sioux a chance to 
rally and to drive their enemy back. The 
Sioux then dug rifle pits with their tomahawks 
and knives and thus entrenched fought heroic- 
ally, and finally beat off the Saques and Foxes, 
vvho outnumbered them three to one, but who 
had been disheartened by the desperate valor of 

We are apt to thinlc of the Indian as only a 
blood thirsty savage delighting in the torture 
of his enemy, or girdled with gorey human scalps, 
indulging in the horrid rites of the war dance. 
He hardly ever appears on the stage of our 
national history, save in the role of some ter- 
rible massacre. Then the last and most im- 
pressive view the early pioneers usually have of 
the Indian is with scalping knife and toma- 
hawk, killing the women and children along the 

There is no question, but that the Indian, 
like all savages, was prone to follow the war- 
path and that his methods of warfare were 
sliockingly bloody and cruel. Our red man was, 
however, possessed of many noble virtues and 
some high ideals, and it is partly because they 
reveal this better side of his character, that I 
insert these glimpses of his home life. It will 
be noted that like most tales of the wild, each 
has a tragic note. 




Hapan was a beautiful Dakota maiden, the 
belle of lier tribe who lived at the mouth of 
the Mahkato river. Many had been the suitors 
for her hand, but she disdained to notice any 
of them, except young Chaskay, a valiant young 
brave. He was a splendid specimen of physi- 
cal manhood, tall, straight as an arrow, and a 
perfect athlete. His quick piercing eye, high 
forehead and classic face betokened the highest 
intelligence and, though he was but a youth, 
liis fame already as an orator and wise advisor 
was great in the councils of his tribe. None 
swifter than he in the chase, none more skillful 
than he in the great ball games, none stronger 
or braver than he on the warpath. Chaskay and 
Hapan had been lovers from their childhood 
and were never happy save when together. But 
a great war party had left the village two weeks 
before to go against the Chippeways, to avenge 
the blood of a number of relatives and friends, 
^(■ho had been waylaid and murdered while 
hunting beyond Swan Lake by a skulking band 
of this ancient foe. With this party had gone 
young Chaskay as its head war chief. Tender 
had been tlie parting between him and Hapan, 
and it was with a mingled feeling of dread 
apprehension and loving pride the maiden had 
watched her lover's departure on that fateful 
morning. At the head of the long column of 
noble warriors he had marched with stately 
mien down the beautiful valley of the Minne- 
sota. But the week before, the remnant of this 
strong band of warriors had returned, most of 
them covered with ghastly wounds. Our war- 
riors approach having been discovered by some 
of the enemy's scouts, an ambush had been made 
for them by an overwhelming force of the Chip- 

Terrible had been the struggle and awful the 
carnage. With desperate valor Chaskay had 
fought and it was not before he had laid low 
many of his enemies, that he was finally over- 
powered and slain. The awful news pierced 
Hapan's heart like an arrow and for several 
clays she brooded over the melancholy event in 
sullen silent agony. But one morning the slum- 

bering village, which nestled in the low land 
near the mouth of the Mahkato was startled by 
the sad, plaintive notes of her death song. 
Upon the top of a tall oak, which topped a rockj- 
pi-ecipice just back of the village, she sat 
decked in all her bridal garments. The words 
of her death dirge were these: 

"Wicanripi rota hiyeye 
Koda, he opa hiyaye 
Mix owapa. 

Which translated read as follows: 

My friend has gone 

His road is the Milky A^'ay, 

The same road I will travel. 

As slie finished her song she east herself down 
from the dizzy height upon the stones below, 
and her soul sped to join her lover in the 
happy spirit land. 

The last of tliese Indian tales which were in 
any way connected with our county is a folk 
lore story. It was translated into English at 
the instance of the Sioux Missionary, Dr. Wil- 
hamson, by one of his converted Indians and 
preserves many of the Dakota idioms. 

(A Dakota Folklore story.) 

Once on a time there lived in the valley of 
the Minnesota a father who had twelve sons. In 
front of the lodge grew a number of fine oak 
trees, while just beside it there gushed from the 
foot of the bluff a beautiful spring of water, 
which the cold of winter or the summer's 
drouth never efiected. It was a charming spot, 
slieltered from every storm, and the luxuriant 
verdure of summer v:as always fresh and decked 
with such a profusion of flowers that the eye 
of the beholder was fascinated. But Wishwee, 
the oldest son, wa.?, not satisfied with the hunt- 
ing grounds of his fathers' and concluded to go 
out into the world to seek his fortune. So he 
came to his father and said : '"Father, I am 
tired of viewing always the same scenes and 
wish to go out into the world and se-e other 
nations and other lands, that I might know 
how they prosper. Wilt thou give me the 



beautiful black horse that thou didst receive 
from the great chief of the West for my jour- 
ney i*" To this the father answered, "My son, 
tJiou hast ever been very dear to me and since 
thou hast decided to travel into distant lands 
thou mayest take the beautiful black horse, but 
remember this if thou desirest him to go very 
fast or carry, thee over any obstacle in the road 
never strike him more than once and he will 
never fail thee." To which the son replied, 
■'Your words, dear father, make me glad, and 1 
shall heed thy advice. As long as yonder spring 
is clear thou wilt know that I am alive, but if 
its limpid waters shall become troubled and 
muddy then thou wilt mourn me as dead." 

It was a glorious morning in the moon of 
the corn planting, when Wishwee started on his 
journey mounted on the beautiful black horse. 
As he was leaving the wigwam door his father 
handed him two bottles of wine, which his old 
grandmother had made from the juice of the 
wild grapes she had picked in the far off 
haunted valley. After he had traveled a long 
way, beyond the farthest point ever reached by 
the buffalo hunters of his tribe, he came to a 
large path called the "Difficult Way," and at 
once determined to see what was at the ottier 
end of it. As he journeyed along this road he 
came suddenly to a rocky precipice, which lay 
straight across his path. Remembering what 
his father had said, he gave his horse only one 
cut with the whip, and he scaled the perpendi- 
cular height with a bound and stood on the 
other side. Here he espied an old woman, who 
just then was cleaning some deer skins beside 
Ler lodge. As he was passing, she called to him 
and said, "My grand child, though thou be on 
a journey and in haste, come into my wigwam 
and partake of a little food and then pass on." 
"Yes, grandmother," answered Wishwee, "I am 
very glad of thy invitation, for I am very 
hungry." So he alighted from his horse and 
supped with her. When he was about to de- 
part, the old woman asked him "Whither art 
thou going, my grandchild?" Wishwee an- 
swered, "Grandmother I have grown up without 
seeing other lands, and other people, and now 
I go out into the world to seek my fortune." 
Whereupon she replied, "Well hast thou done. 

my gTandchild, but this road thou hast taken 
ii3 well named the 'Difficult Way,' so be wise, 
my son, and heed the advice thou shalt receive 
on thy journey." So Wishwee proceeded on his 
way. After he had gone some distance he came 
suddenly to a great slough, so vast, he could 
not see across it, and so miry, a waterfowl 
could not wade in it. Along the edge of this 
slough were strewn thick the bones of horses 
and their riders, who had attempted to pass 
through it. It was called the We We Tanka, 
The Bad Swamp. Wishwee paused for a time 
perplexed, but finding no way to pass around 
this terrible slough, he headed his horse straight 
for its midst, and gave him one blow with his 
whip. Swift as the wind, with mighty bounds 
that scarce touched the surface once, the noble 
animal carried his rider safely over the im- 
passable swamp. On the farther side our trav- 
eler found an old man, who called to him to 
pause a few minutes and sup at his lodge. After 
they had eaten together the young man said to 
his host, "Grandfather, thou hast made me very 
happy by inviting me to dine with thee. Wilt 
thou not partake of a drop of this wine I have?" 
and he handed him one of the bottles his father 
had given him. After the old man had drank 
tv/ice of the wine, he became very talkative, and 
he told the young man all his secrets. "My 
fron," said he, "When thou goest hence thou 
wilt soon come to the Hill Beautiful. From 
the moment that comest in sight hasten thy 
horse with all speed and beware that thou dost 
not stop or look behind thee until thou hast 
reached the summit for if thou tarriest or 
lookest behind thee a single instant before ar- 
riving on the summit, then thou will surely die, 
but after the highest point is attained, thou 
mayest check thy speed and look behind." 

Thus spake the old man and the young man 
again proceeded on his way. After some time 
the top of the Hill Beautiful loomed up in the 
distance. The moment Wishwee saw it he gave 
his horse one cut with his whip and sped along 
the road like the- wind. Soon he heard some- 
one coming behind and tempting him to look 
back, but he remembered the old man's advice 
and hurried on faster than ever. Then the 
tempter began to taunt and tease him saying, 



"See this young man is blind in one eye. 
Look, one of his legs is shorter than the other. 
His mouth, too, is twisted." Though greatly 
exasperated by these words the young man 
checked himself and pressed on with the ut- 
most speed with his eye fixed on the top of 
the hill straight before him. Gaining tire sum- 
mit at last he reined in his horse and looked 
behind. There in the road panting for breath 
stood the largest and most fierce mountain lion 
he had ever seen. Almost dead with running 
the lion came and lay down near Wishwee and 
said: "Young man, thou art very wise and 
brave, and hast arrived at the top of Hill 
Beautiful without looking back, and thereby thou 
hast overcome me, and henceforth I am at thy 
service. On the road thou are traveling there 
is another hill called the High Hill. 

"AATien it comes in sight beware that thou 
dost not look behind before reaching its summit, 
for the moment thou dost, thou shall surely die, 
but when thou hast come to the top thou may- 
est look behind.'' 

The young man had not gone very far when 
in the distance he perceived the top of the High 
Hill. Immediately he gave liis horse one cut 
M'ith his whip and he darted forward like an 
arrow, but soon again from behind came the 
shouts of someone following making all manner 
of noise, and calling him all manner of names to 
induce him to look back, but he had a firm pur- 
pose and heeded not the voice of his pursuer. 
When the top of the mountain was reached a 
monster white wolf, the fiercest Wisliwce had 
ever seen, came panting and lay down by his 
side saying: "Thou hast conquered me, and 
henceforth my powers are thy powers." IFore- 
over the Big Wolf said: "Before thou reachest 
the place which thou art going to another moun- 
tain must be passed called the "Last Moun- 
tain," when it comes in sight then hurry on as 
fast as thy horse can carry thee, but beware on 
the penalty of thy life that thou doest not look 
behind, until the summit is reached." So the 
young man pressed forward on his journey. He 
had not gone far before the top of Last Moun- 
tain came into sight and quickly he struck his 
liorse one blow with his whip and off he flew 
lilce a fla-sh of lightning. Soon he heard some 

one following close behind him again, calling to 
him to stop and look at the wonderful things 
in his rear. Becoming desperate, his pursuer 
taunted him as being a coward, but Wishwee 
was fixed in his purpose, and no blandishment, 
curiosity or fear could turn him aside until the 
top of the mountain 's\'as reached, when a great 
eagle fell at his feet exhausted crying, "Thou 
hast gained tlie victory over me, henceforth my 
powers are thy powers." Furthermore the great 
eagle said, "^Mien thou hast gone hence on thy 
A\-ay thou \\-ilt come to a large town called the 
'A'illage of Weeping.' In that town somethings 
Avill befall thee. At tlie entrance of the village 
lives an old woman and thou must go to her 
teepee and it will be told thee what has be- 
fallen the town." 

After journeying some distance the young 
man arrived at the Big Village. The inhabi- 
tants of which neither laugh or make merry, 
and the faces of all are painted black. For a 
time Wishwee paused at the entrance of the vil- 
lage gazing in amazement at its sad appear- 
ance, then noticing an old woman standing by 
the door of lier wigwam nearby he approached 
her and inquired, "Grandmother, why is it that 
in til is great village everybody looks so sorrow- 
ful?"' "My son," answered the old woman, "Art 
tliou a mere stranger and has not heard of 
the terrible thing which has happened here? 
1'he chief of this village has four fair daugh- 
ters, but yesterday about noon one who is called 
'Xo Soul' made a sudden raid upon this place 
and carried away two of the maidens. It is on 
this account that the people are all so sad." 

"Grandmother," asked the young man, "did'st 
til on see this No Soul?" "Yes, my son," re- 
plied the old woman, "he has the form of a very 
gi-eat grizzley bear. From the time the world 
was made no one has been able to kill this bear, 
and indeed he can not be killed, and hence he 
is called No Soul." "Where doth he live?" 
cp.eried the young man. "He lives." said the 
old woman, "a long, ways from here in a- big 
ii:ountain. He said moreover, that in six days 
he would return and carry off the chiefs other 
two daughters. Wherefore the chief is very 
much alarmed and has said to his people, who- 
ever kills No Soul, shall have both my remain- 



iug daughters for wives, and many a brave vrar- 
rior has placed himselJ; in readiness to fight the 
monster when he returns." 

When the young man heard this his heart 
was stirred within him, and he asked the old 
woman to take good care of his horse as he 
must go and see the chief. He found the old 
chief stretched upon the floor of his teepee, 
sorely lamenting the fate of his daughters. 
Wishwee told him not to weep and that he 
would see him again in twelve days. The young 
man then immediately departed in quest of the 
mountain where No Soul lived. Arriving there 
he found a v^ry large cave, standing at its 
mouth he called : "No Soul, have mercy upon 
me, I have come to see your house which I 
hear is finely constructed." Whereupon a very 
large and fierce looking bear came rushing out 
and with a growl like the rumble of distant 
thunder he said : "Wonderful this ; no one dared 
ever before to come near my house and such an 
example will I make of thee that no one will 
ever venture here again.'' 

"Stay a moment No Soul," said Wishwee, 
"I understand you are fond of wine. I have 
some very choice vintage with me. Ere we 
engage in combat let us drink a little to make 
our hearts strong," and he offered to No Soul 
hif; second bottle of wine. The monster swal- 
lowed it all at one gulp, but no sooner had he 
done so than he began to be very communica- 
tive and he revealed the secret of his life and 
said : "If I should be killed and ripped open 
a fox would leap out, and if the fox should 
be killed and ripped open a bird would fly out, 
and if the bird be killed and ripped open, a 
very fine white egg would be foiind, and if that 
should be taken up yonder to the brow of that 
high precipice, a door will be found entering 
into a vast golden chamber, where my real self 
dwells, and should I there be smitten on the 
bi-east with the eg?, then would I die." 

Then Wishwee challenged No Soul to a com- 
bat and he became very furious, but the young 
man called to the great mountain lion, whom 
he had met on the Hill Beautiful, and im- 
mediately he was transformed into the great lion 

and fought with No Soul and overcame him 
and with his powerful claws he ripped him open. 
Immediately a fox leaped out and disappeared 
in the brush, but Wishwee called upon the big 
white wolf of the High Hill, and he was at 
once changed to his form and pursued the fox 
and overtaking him slew him. When he had 
ripped open the fox, a bird suddenly flew out 
and disappeared quickly among the trees. Wish- 
wee then called to his aid the great eagle of the 
Last Hill and immediately v/as transformed into 
his shape. Sweeping down on his strong pin- 
ions be soon captured the bird, and ripping it 
open found the smooth white egg. 

Taking the egg he mounted to the brow of 
the high clifE and found the entrance to the 
home of No Soul. Inside he found the monster 
stretched upon the floor of his golden chamber 
in much distress and smote him at once upon the 
breast with the white egg. No Soul imme- 
diately rolled over dead. Hearing a moaning 
noise in a distant recess of the cave, he fol- 
lowed it, and there bound and shut into a dark 
hole he found the chief's two daughters still 
alive, reserved for a great feast No Soul ex- 
pected to hold that very night. The joy of the 
maidens at their unexpected deliverance was 
Fiost affecting. Bearing them one at a time 
on his eagle wings, our hero descended to the 
foot of the high cliff and thereupon assumed his 
own form. 

Boundless was the rejoicing at the old chief's 
-pillage when Wishwee arrived with the rescued 
maidens. In accordance with his jKomise the 
chief offered the young man his four daugh- 
ters for his wives, and they were all yery beau- 
tiful, but Wishwee said he only wanted the 
youngest, Wehakay, for she far excelled the other 
tliree, and the hearts of the two young people 
had been united from the first. When the mar- 
riage festivities, which were most joyous and 
elaborate were over, Wishwee returned home 
with his beautiful bride to the lovely valley of 
the Minnesota, to the pleasant hunting gfound 
cf his fathers, where among their many descen- 
dants the memory of Wishwee's bravery and 
Wehakay's charms will never be forgotten. 






The French were probably the first white men 
tci set foot on Blue Earth Countj^ soil. Which 
one of them had the first honor is unknown, 
some think that the French hunters and traders, 
Groseilliers and Eadisson, visited this locality in 
I'iGO. The French fur trade of that early 
period had many daring spirits, whose wonder- 
ful stories of adventure and disco^'ery were 
never written, and it may be one of these un- 
known heroes was the first to view the country 
of the ]\rahkato. 

The first known to ha^•e come to the region 
now' embraced in Blue Earth County were Le 
Sueur and Ins followers, who arrived here in 
September, 1700. Pierre Charles Le Sueur had 
come into the present boundaries of ^Minnesota 
r.s early as 1683 at least, and had spent seven 
j-ears at various times hunting and trading 
among the Sioux. We know that he then spent 
part of the time with Perrot in the vicinity of 
Lake Pepin. We also know that during this 
visit among the Sioux, he discovered the bed of 
gTcen clay, found upon the Blue Earth' river, 
about a mile above the mouth of the Le Sueur, 
and that he took a sample of it with him to 
France, where it was assayed in 1696 bv Le 
Huillier, one of the king's officers, and evi- 
dently pronounced to be copper. Whether Le 
Sueur had personally inspected this bed of clay, 
and selected the sample himself before he took 
it to France is not certain. The probability, 
however, is that he had, but it may be, as stated 
by some that he obtained his sample and in- 
formation as to the extent and location of the 
bed or mine from which it had been taken, from 
an Indian, who carried lumps of the green sub- 
stance in his medicine bag. 

In the summer of 160,5 Le Sueur had taken 

a Sioux chief, named Tioscate with him from 
]i!innesota to Canada, who was the first of that 
nation to see a civilized country. There is rea- 
son to believe that Tioseate's home was at the 
moutli of the Blue Earth, as his relatives were 
found there in large numbers five or six years 
later. This indicates that Le Sueur was then 
personally Jamiliar with the Blue Earth coun- 
t]-v and the people who dwelt there. Perhaps 
his object in taking the chief with him to Can- 
ada was to cultivate his friendship, with a view 
to the advantage such a friendly relation would 
mean, when he came to open his mine. The un- 
fortunate young chief, however, sickened and 
died after a few days at Montreal. 

Confirmed by Le Huilliers tests in his be- 
lief that he had discovered a very valuable cop- 
])vr mine, Le Sneur became enthusiastically in- 
sistant to develop his rich find. Through the 
aid of relatives, who had much influence at 
cf urt, he finally secured a commission to work 
the mines in 1696, While crossing the ocean, 
the vessel in Avhich he sailed was captured by 
the English and he with the rest of the crew 
were carried prisoners to England. On his re- 
lease and return to France he secured in 1696 
a second commission to work the Blue Earth 
mines, but was deterred by various obstacles 
from carrying out his project until 1700. Prom 
a letter written August 30th, 1703, by La Motte 
Cadillac, in command of the French post at 
Detroit, we learn that not the , least of these 
obstacles was due to the disturbed relations, then 
existing between the Sioux and their old ene- 
mies the Sacs and Foxes of Wisconsin. The 
latter had been in alliance with the French for 
many years and furnished them with a very 
lucrative trade. With the fire arms obtained 




from the traders, the Foxes and their allies had 
guined a great advantage over their foe, which 
advantage they were anxious to retain. 

Some of the French traders were beginning 
to discover how rich the Sioux country was, 
especially in beaver and bufEalo, and were anx- 
ious to open trade with them. The Foxes and 
their allies, however, were much opposed to such 
a project as it would furnish their enemies 
with firearms, and all the other superior weapons 
and goods of the white men. The French now 
tried another tactic, and got these ancient foes 
to make a compact of peace. The Foxes and 
their allies acted in good faith in the transac- 
tion, but the Sioux made it an opportunity for 
treachery. Under pretense of ratifying the 
treaty a large number of the latter paid the 
Foxes and Miamis a visit and were right roj^- 
ally feasted and entertained by them, and it 
seemed as though the tomahawk had really been 
buried. The Sioux then left for home appar- 
ently well satisfied with the good treatment 
they -had received. Thinking now that there 
were no foes to dread, and supposing that their 
visitors were well towards home, the principal 
village of the Miamis was resting heedless of 
any danger, when the perfidious Sioux, having 
str'althily returned at night, fell upon them sud- 
denly at day break and killed three thousand of 
them. This great slaughter and outrageous 
treachery made the Poxes and all their allies 
furious in their rage, and a war of extermina- 
tion against the whole Sioux nation was inau- 
gurated. The French authorities could not af- 
ford the ill will of the Wisconsin Indians, 
among whom most of their trading posts were 
located, nor the loss of prestige, which the 
ccuntenancing of such perfidy would invite, and 
hence they were obliged to forbid any trade with 
the Sioux under heavy penalties. But the trad- 
ers, who roamed through these remote regions, 
paid but indifferent attention to any official 
order, and continued to traffic with the Dakota 
tribes along the Mississippi and Minnesota. 
This involved them in trouble with the Foxes, 
Miamis and other enemies of the Sioux, and 
robberies and hostilities were frequent. These 
events occurred just about the time Le Sueur 
first obtained his commission to work his Blue 

Earth copper mine, and helps to explain some 
of the difficulties and dangers he met. Le 
Sueur finally reached Biloxi near the mouth 
of the Mississippi with thirty miners in De- 
cember, 1699, and started up the Father of 
Waters about April, 1700. By June of that 
year the expedition had reached Tamarois, a 
trading post a short distance below the mouth 
of the Missouri. He left this point July 12th,. 
in a felucca and two canoes with nineteen men, 
mostly miners. On the way they fell in with 
various Canadian hunters and traders, who 
joined them until by the time they reached the 
mouth of the Minnesota, on September 19th, 
ihe expedition numbered twenty-eight persons. 
On September 30th, 1700, they arrived at the 
mouth of the Blue Earth and ascended it t» 
the mouth of the Le Sueur, which they named 
the "St. Eemi" or "St. Henry." Here, on 
the mound just below the Jimction of the two 
rivers they erected two or three log cabins and 
enclosed them with a palisade of poles. The 
place was called Port Le Huillier in honor of 
the French officer, who had assayed the sample 
of green clay for Le Sueur. While the French 
miners and carpenters were building the fort, 
the Canadian hunters, who had joined the ex- 
pedition by the way, hunted the buffalo on the 
adjacent prairies and soon had enough meat 
cured to supply the garrison over winter. 

Penicaut, a ship carpenter, whom Le Sueur 
had taken with him to mend the boats and do 
other carpenter work, states that they killed 
four hundred buffaloes, which statement seems 
rather strong. Prom the same authority we 
learn that the winter was rather severe. To 
persons who were accustomed to the balmy air 
of France and New Orleans, a Minnesota winter 
^vould very naturally seem a little bracing. Then 
we must concede to Penicaut the poetic license 
due to an old seaman recounting twenty years 
Inter, the marvelous adventures he had met in 
a new and far distant world. The next spring 
Le Sueur took twelve of the miners and four 
hunters with him about a mile and a half up 
the Blue Earth from the fort, to open up what 
he then supposed was a copper mine. This 
mine was' evidently the bed of green clay from 
four to ten inches thick still found in the 



bluffs of the Blue Earth near the north line of 
section twenty-eight of South Bend township. 
The clay has no copper in it, but its peculiar 
bluish green color is due to a tincture of iron. 
In twenty-two days Le Sueur had over 20,000 
pounds of it dug out, and selecting 4,000 pounds 
of the best, he loaded this into his shallop and 
carried it to the fort at the mouth of the Mis- 
sissippi. What became of it afterwards is not 
known. He also carried with him a very valu- 
able cargo of beaver and other furs, which he 
liad obtained from the Indians. 

Le Sueur left twelve men at Fort Le Huillier 
in charge of D'Eraque, one of the Canadians 
who had Joined his party. These remained at 
the fort until the spring of 1703, when a war 
party of the Foxes and Maskontens, then at bit- 
ter enmity with the Sioux and therefore opposed 
to the establishment of this fort, as we have 
seen, made some hostile demonstration in its 
vicinity, and caused its rather sudden evacua- 
tion. Penicaut, who had left the spring be- 
fore with Le Sueur and hence was not personally 
present and probably did not know the partic- 
ulars connected with the abandonment of the 
fort simply states that in the spring of 1703, 
"D'Eraque and his twelve comrades had re- 
turned to Mobile and reported that they had 
been attacked by a band of Foxes and Mas- 
kontens, who had killed three Frenchmen, who 
were working in the woods about two gun shots 
beyond the fort, and that being out of ammuni- 
tion he had cached the goods and abandoned 
the post." In July, 1907, a rather interesting 
discovery of seventeen headless skeletons was 
made on the farm of one A. Mitchell, in the 
northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of 
section thirty-three of South Bend township. 
The bodies had all been laid out, white man's 
fashion and buried two or three feet deep in 
dug graves on the top of a small natural mound 
or knoll. The soil -consisted of loam, gravel 
and clay. At the northwest base of the knoll 
lay a grassy swale of several acres. Originally 
the knoll had been covered with timber and 
thick brush, and the forest continuing eastward 
from it to the Le Sueur. The mound is sit- 
uated about a mile and a half southwest of the 
site of old Ft, Le Huillier and on a very an- 

cient Indian trail, which led from the Big 
Woods and the ilinnesota valley, through Man- 
kato, along the foot of the Walker hill, down 
til rough the Eed Jacket valley and by the site 
of the old fort, crossing the Le Sueur just above 
its mouth, and passing up the opposite bluff 
followed in a southwesterly course the dryest 
land by the knoll in question and emerging 
from the timber a short distance beyond. Thence 
it continued in southwesterly course over the 
Blue Earth, Watonwan, and the boundless prai- 
ries to the mouth of the Big Sioux river. The 
burial must have occurred long before the ad- 
vent of the white settlers in 1853, as all traces 
of the graves had been obliterated. The In- 
dians of the locality, also, must have forgotten 
their existence, as they made no mention of 
them to anyone. All of which indicates that 
the tragedy connected with those bones was very 

The headless conditions of the skeletons and 
the two flint arrow heads with broken tips 
found with the bones, point quite conclusively 
to Indians as the authors of the bloody deed. 
The laying out of the bodies and their burial 
in dug gro/ves is fully as conclusive evidence, 
tliat the interment was the work of white men. 
The Indians never buried in this manner and 
had no implements for the purpose. Prior to 
the advent of the white settlers there were no 
white persons in this locality, except the French 
occupants of Ft. Le Hviillier. History states 
that during the occupation of this fort a most 
hitter warfare was in progress between the Foxes 
and their allies and the Sioux and that in the 
spring of 1703 the former made a hostile raid 
to the vicinity of the Fort and that they killed 
three French men, but how many of their 
Sioux foes, if any, they killed is not stated. 

From these and other known data, it is 
quite probable that the tragedy connected with 
the skeletons found on the Mitchell farm dates 
b;ick to the spring of 1703. The only conclu- 
sion, which fits all the facts is that at that time 
a large war party of the Foxes and their allies 
crossed the Mississippi and following the us- 
ually deserted prairies south of the Big Woods, 
stole up unobserved to the neighborhood of Ft. 
Le Huillier, with intent to wreak vengeance on 



their old enemies, tlie Sioux, and at the same 
time brealc up tlie fort,- which was affording 
their foe the benefits of trade with the whites. 

Taking advantage of the mound now on the 
Jlitcliell farm with its thick In-usli and timber 
and the grassy swale beside it, they made here 
an ambush on the old well beaten trail, which 
led from the fort and the Minnesota valley to 
the great j^outhwcs^t. In due time a long, lino 
of Dakota braves accompanied by some of the 
voyao-ers attached to the traders at the fort, 
came winding their way along the path. As 
they were passing over the mound the silence 
was suddenly broken by blood curdling war 
whoops, liursting from a liundred savage throats, 
and a deadly shower of arrows, mingled with 
a few bullets, smote them from every side and 
seventeen, jDerhaps more, fell in the trail. The 
rest fled through the woods in dismay back to 
the fort. It took the Foxes but a few moments 
to rush upon the fallen victims and with their 
sharp knives cut off their heads to carry back 
to their Wisconsin villages as gorey and ghastly 
ti'ophies for the scalp dance. The news of 
the terrible tragedy soon reached the fort and 
caused the wildest excitement. Armed with 
their guns a portion of the garrison went out 
to view the scene of the carnage. Prompted by 
dictates of humanity and of their religion, the 
miners, who had but recently come from civil- 
heA Prance, procured their picks and shovels 
a ad buried the bodies. The Indians were hu- 
man beings and the French doubtless had known 
most of the dead intimately for nearly two years 
and it behooved them to give their red friends 
the rite of a christian burial at least. Then 
if among the slain were three French voyagers, 
it gave an added- reason for the burial. Terrified 
by this bloody massacre and having but little 
ammunition, the garrison at once cached what 
goods they could not carry and evacuated the 
fort, passing hastily down the river to Mobile. 

The adventures of these first white settlers in 
Blue Earth County over two hundred years ago 
are full of interest. Our information is derived 
fj'om two main sources. One being the extracts 
copied from the Journal of Le Sueur, the leader 
of the expedition, by Bernard de le Harpe in his 
"History of Louisiana." Le Harpe was a French 

oifieer, who about two hundred )ears ago wrote 
a liistory of the old French province of Louisana 
in which Blue Earth County was then situated. 
It was \\ritten in French and remained unpub- 
lished for over a hundred years. Unfortunately 
the Journal of Le Sueur, from which these ex- 
tracts were taken, has been lost. Our other 
source of information is a little French book 
entitled "The Eelation of Penicaut.'' As we 
stated before Penicaut was a shipwright, who 
accompanied Le Sueur on his expedition to the 
Blue Earth. He remained at Ft. Le Huillier 
only one winter and then returned to the Lower 
ilississippi. Twenty years later he visited France 
tn receive medical treatment for his eyes. While 
these stories of his adventures in the new world 
excited so much interest, that they were re- 
duced to writing at Ms dictation, the manu- 
script remained at Paris unpublished for one 
hundred and fifty years, but in 1869 it was 
bought by ilr. SpofEord, librarian of Congress, 
and printed in a small volume. The portion of 
Penicaut's book relating to Le Sueur's expedition 
to the Blue Earth we will give entire. 


Having ascended the St. Peter (Minnesota) 
river forty leagaies and finding another river 
on the left falling into it he continues, "We call- 
ed this Green River, because it is of that color 
by reason of a green earth, which loosening itself 
fiom the copper mines, becomes dissolved in it 
and makes it green. A league up this river we 
found a point of land a quarter of a league dis- 
tant from the woods, and it was upon this point 
that M. Le Sueur resolved to build his fort, 
because we could not go any higher on account 
of the ice, it being the last day of September, 
when winter, -which is very severe in that counti-y, 
has already begun. Half of our people went 
hunting, whilst the others Morked on the fort. Wc 
killed four hundred bufEaloes, which were our pro- 
\isions for the ^vinter, and which we placed upon 
scaft'olds in our fort, after having skinned and 
cleaned and then quartered them. We also made 
cabins in the fort, and a magazine to keep our 
goods. After having drawn up ottr shallop with- 
in the inclosure of the fort, we spent the winter 
in our cabins, 



When we were working on our fort, in the 
beginning, seven Fi-eneh traders of Canada took 
refuge there. They had been pillaged and strip- 
ped naked by the Sioux, a wandering nation 
living only by hunting and rapine. Amongst 
these seven persons there was a Canadian gen- 
tlemen of M. Le Sueur's acquaintance, whom 
he recognized at once and gave him some 
clothes, as he did also to all the rest, and 
whate%'er else was necessary for them. They re- 
iriained with us during the entire winter at 
our fort, where we had not food enough 
for all, except the flesh of our buffaloes, which 
we had not even salt to eat with. We had a good 
deal of trouble the first two A\'eeks in getting 
used to it, having diarrhoea and fever, and being 
so tired of it that we hated the very smell. But 
little by little our bodies got adapted to it, 
so well that at the end of six weeks there was 
not one of us that could not eat six pounds of 
meat a day and drink four bowls of the broth. 
As soon as we were accustomed to this kind of 
living it made us very fat, and there was then 
no more sickness amongst us. 

When spring arrived we went to work on 
the copper mine. This was in the beginning of 
April of this year, (1701). We took with us 
twelve laborers and four hunters. This mine 
was situated about three quarters of a league 
from our post. We took from the mine in twen- 
ty-two days more than thirty thousand pounds 
weight of ore, of which we only selected four 
thousand pounds, of the finest, which M. Le 
Sueur, who was a very good judge of it, had 
carried to the fort and which has since been 
sent to France, though I have not learned the 

This mine is situated at the beginning of a 
very long mountain ■\\'hich is upon the bank of 
the river, so that boats can go right to the 
mouth of the mine itself. At this place is the 
green earth, which is a foot and a half in thick- 
ness, and above it is a layer of earth as firm and 
hard as stone, and black and burnt like coal 
by the exhalation from the mine. The copper 
is scratched out with a knife. There are no trees 
upon this mountain. If this mine is good it will 
make a great trade, because the mountain con- 
tains more than ten leagues running of the same 

ground. It appears, according to our observa- 
tions, that in the very finest weather there is 
continually a fog upon this mountain. 

After twenty-two days' work we returned to 
our fort, where the Sioux, who belong to the 
nation of savages who pillaged the Canadians 
that come there, brought us merchandises of 
furs. They had more than four hundred beaver 
robes, each robe being of nine skins sewed togeth- 
er. ]\I. Le Sueur purchased these and many 
other skins which he bargained for in the week 
he traded with the savages. He made them 
all come and camp near the fort, which they 
consented to very unwillingly; for this nation, 
which is very numerous, is always wandering, 
living only by hunting, and when they have 
stayed a few days in one place they have to go 
off more than ten leagues from it for game for 
tlicir support. They have, however, a dwell- 
ing place, where they gather together the natural 
fruits of the country, which are very different 
from those of the lower IMississippi, as for in- 
stance cherries which are in clusters like our 
grapes of France, cranberries which are similar 
to our strawberries but larger and somewhat 
sfjuare in shape, nuts, cliokeberries, roots which 
resemble our truffles, et cetera. There are also 
more kinds of trees than on the lower part of 
the river, as the birch, maple, plane, and cotton- 
wood, which last is a tree that grows so thick 
that there are some that are fifteen feet round. 
As to the trees called maple and plane it is 
usual at the beginning of ^Farch to make notclies 
in them, and then placing tubes in the notches 
cause the liquid to run off into a vessel placed 
below to receive it.^ These trees will flow in 
abundance during three months, from the begin- 
ning of IMarch to the end of "May. The juice they 
yield is very sweeet. it is boiled till it turns to 
syrup, and if it is boiled still more it becomes 
brown sugar. 

The cold is still severer in these countries 
than it is in Canada. During the winter we 
passed in our fort we heard the trees exploding 
like nui^ket shots, being cracked by the rigor of 
the cold. The ice is as thick as there is water in 
the river, and the snow is condensed in it. Bv 
the month of April all this snow and ice lies 
on the ground to the depth of five feet, which 



causes the overflowing of the Mississippi in the 

About the beginning of winter in this country, 
that is to say in the month of September, the 
bears climb trees that are hollow and hide them- 
selves inside, where they remain from six to 
seven months without ever leaving, getting no 
other nourishment during the winter than by 
licking their paws. "When they enter they are 
extremely lean, and when they go out they are 
so plump that they have half a foot of fat on 
tbem. It is almost always in the cottonwood 
or cypress that the bear hides himself, because 
these trees are generally hollow. In hunting 
them a tree is placed leaning against the tree 
where the bear is and reaching up to the hole 
by which he entered. The hunter climbs by this 
leaning tree to the other one, and throws into 
the hollow some pieces of dry wood all on fire, 
which obliges the animal to come out to save 
himself from being burned. Wlien the bear 
leaves the hole of the tree he comes down 
backwards, as a man would do, and then they 
shoot him. This hunting is very dangerous, for 
though the animal may be wounded sometimes 
by three or four gun shots, he will still fall 
upon the first person he meets, and with a 
single blow of his teeth and claws will tear 
you up in a moment. There are some as large 
as carriage horses, so strong that they can 
easily break a tree as thick as one's thigh. The 
nation of the Sioux hunt them very much, 
using them for food and trading their skins 
with the French Canadians. We sell in return 
wares which come very dear to the buyers, es- 
pecially tobacco from Brazil in the proportion 
of a hundred crowns to the pound, two little 
horn handled knives or four leaden bullets are 
equal to ten crowns in exchange for their mer- 
chandises of skins and so with the rest. 

In the beginning of May we launched our shal- 
lop in the water and loaded it with this green 
earth that had been taken out of the mines 
and with the furs we had traded for, of which 
we brought away three canoes full. M. Le 
Sueur, before going, held council with Mr. 
D'Eraque the Canadian gentleman, and the three 
great chiefs of the Sioux, three brothers, and 
told them that as he had to return to the sea he 

desired them to live in peac« with M. D'Eraque, 
whom he left in command of Fort L'Huillier, 
with twelve Frenchmen. M. Le Sueur made a 
considerable present to the three brothers, chiefs 
of the savages, desiring them never to abandon 
the French. After this we, the twelve men whom 
he had chosen to go down to the sea with 'him 
embarked. In setting out M. Le Sueur promised 
to M. D'Eraque and the twelve Frenchmen, who 
remained with him to guard the fort, to send up 
munitions of war from the Illinois county as 
soon as he should arrive there; and which he did, 
for on getting there he sent off to him a canoe 
loaded with two thousand pounds of lead and 
powder, with three of our people in charge of it. 

In this same time il. D'Iberville had sent a 
boat laden with munitions of war and provisions, 
to M. de St. Denie, commanding the fort on the 
bank of the Mississippi. They found there 
i\I. D'Eraque, who had arrived with the twelve 
Frenchmen, who remained with him at fort 
L'Huillier. He came shortly after in the same 
boat to Mobile, where M. D'Iberville, was, whom 
he saluted, and reported to him that M. Le 
Sueur having left him at the fort L'Huillier, had 
promised him, in parting, to send him from the 
Illinois country, ammunition and provisions, 
and that having looked for them a long time 
without hearing any news of them he had been 
attacked by the nations of the Maskoutins and 
Poxes, who had killed three of our Frenchmen 
whilst they were working in the woods but two 
gun shots beyond the fort; that when the savages 
had retreated he had been obliged, after having 
concealed the merchandises he had remaining, 
and seeing that he was out of powder and lead, 
to abandon the fort and descend with his peo- 
ple to the sea." 

Because of their special connection with Blue 
Earth County we also take from Le Harpe's his- 
tory those extracts from Le Sueur's Journal 
which pertain to Ft. Le Huillier. 


"After he entered into the Blue river, thus 
named on account of the mines of blue earth 
found at its mouth, he founded his post, situated 
in forty-four degrees, 'thirteen minutes, north 


latitude. He met at this place, nine Sioux who 
told him that the river belonged to the Sioux 
of the west; the Ayavios, (lowas) and Otoctatas, 
(Ottoes), who lived a little farther off; that it 
was not their custom to hunt on ground belong- 
ing to others, unless invited to do so by the own- 
ers, and that when they would come to the fort 
to obtain provisions, they would be in danger 
of being killed in ascending or descending the 
rivers, which were narrow, and that if they 
v/ould show their pity, he must establish himself 
on the Mississippi, near the mouth of the St. 
Pierre, where the Ayavois, the Otoctatas, and the 
other Sioux could go as well as they. 

Having finished their speech, they leaned over 
the head of Le Sueur, according to their custom, 
crying out. "Oueachissou ouaspanimanabo," that 
is to say, "Have pity upon us.'' Le Sueur had 
forseen that the establishment of Blue riv- 
er would not please the Sioux of the oast, 
who were, so to speak, masters of the other 
Sioux and of the nations which will be here- 
after mentioned, because they were the first with 
whom trade was commenced, and in conse- 
quence of which they had already quite a 
number of guns. 

As he had not commenced his operations only 
v/ith a view to the trade of beavers, but also 
to gain a knowledge of the mines, which he had 
pi'eviously discovered, he told them he was sorry 
that he had not known their intentions sooner; 
and that it was just, since he came expressly for 
them that he should establish himself on their 
land, but that the season was too far advanced for 
him to return. He then made them a present 
of powder, balls and knives, and an armful of 
tobacco, to entice them to assemble as soon as 
possible, near the fort which he was about to 
construct; that when they should be all assem- 
bled he might tell them the intention of the king, 
their and his sovereign. 

The Sioux of the west, according to the 
statement of the eastern Sioux, have more than 
a thousand lodges. They do not use canoes, noi 
cultivate the earth, nor gather wild rice. They 
remain generally in the prairies, which are 
between . the Upper Mississippi and ilissouri 
rivers, and live entirely by the chase. The 
Sioux generally say they have three souls, and 

that, after death, that which has done well goes 
to the warm country, and that which has done 
evil to the cold regions, and the other guards 
the body. Polygamy is common among them. 
They are very jealous, and sometimes fiight in 
duel for their wives. They manage the bow ad- 
mirably, and have been seen several times to 
kill ducks on the wing. They make their lodges 
of a number of buffalo skins interlaced and 
sewed, and carry them wherever they go. They 
are all great smokers, but their manner of 
smoking differs from that of other Indians. 
There are some Sioux who swallow all the 
smoke of the tobacco and others who, after hav- 
ing kept it some time in their mouth, cause it 
to issue from, the nose. In each lodge there are 
usually two or three men with their families. 

On the 3d of October, they received at the 
fort several Sioux, among whom was Wahken- 
tape, chief of the village. Soon two Canadians 
arrived who had been hunting, and had been 
roblDcd by the Sioux of the east, who had raised 
their guns against the establishment which M. 
Le Sueur had made on Blue River. 

On the 14th the fort was finished and named 
"Fort L'Huillier" and on the 22nd two Cana- 
dians were sent out to invite the Ayavois and 
Otoctatas to come and establish a village near the 
fort, because these Indians are industrious and 
accustomed to cultivate the earth, and they hoped 
to get provisions from them and to make them 
work in the mines. 

On the 2ith, six Sioux Oujalespoitons wished 
to go into the fort, but were told that they did 
not receive men who had killed Frenchmen. 
This is the term used when they have insulted 
them. The next day they came to the lodge of 
IjC Suettr to beg him to have pity on them. 
1'Jiey wished according to custom, to weep over 
his head, and make him a present of packs of 
beavers, which he refused. He told them he 
v^'as surprised that people who had robbed should 
come to him; to which they replied that they 
had heard it said that two Frenchmen had been 
robbed, but none from their village had been 
present at that wicked action. 

Le Sueur answered that he knew it was the 
Jlendeoucantons and not the Oujalespoitons; 
"but," continued he, "you are Sioux; it is the 


Sioux who have robbed me, and if I were to 
follow your manner of acting, I should break 
your heads; for is it not true, that when a 
stranger (it is thus that they call the Indiana 
who are not Sioux) has insulted a Sioux, 
Mendeoucanton, Oujalespoitons or others — all 
the villages — revenge upon the first one they 

As they had nothing to answer to what he 
said to them, they wept and repeated, according 
to custom, "Ouaechissou, ouaepanimanabo ;" Le 
Sueur told them to cease crying, and added that 
the French had good hearts, and that they had 
come into the country to have pity on them. 
At the same time he made them a present, saying 
to them, "Carry back your beavers and say to 
all the Sioux, that they will have from me no 
more powder or lead, and they will no longer 
smoke any long pipe until they have made 
satisfaction for robbing the Frenchmen." 

The same day the Canadians, who had. been 
sent off on the 32nd, arrived without having 
found the road which led to the Ayavois and 
Otoctatas. On the 25th Le Sueur went to the 
river with three canoes, which he filled with 
blue and green earth. It is taken from the hills 
near which are very abundant mines of copper, 
some of which was worked at Paris in 1696 by 
I/Huillier, one of the chief collectors of the 
kind. Stones were also found there which would 
be curious, if worked. 

On the 9th of November, eight Mantanton 
Sioux arrived, who had been sent by their 
chiefs to say that the Mendeoueantons were still 
at their lake on the east of the Mississippi and 
they could not come for a long time; and that 
for a single village which has no good sense, 
the others ought not to bear the punishment; 
and that they were willing to make reparation 
if they knew how. Le Sueur replied that he 
\7as glad that they had a disposition to do so. 

On the 15th the two Mantanton Sioux, who 
had been sent expressly to say that all of the 
Sioux of the east and part of those of the 
west were Joined together' to come to the French 
because they had heard that the Christianaux 
and the Assinipoils were making war on them. 
These two nations dwell above the fort on the 

east side, more than eighty leagues on the Up- 
per Mississippi. 

The Assinipoils speak Sioux, and are cer- 
tainly of that nation. It is only a few years 
since they became enemies. The enmity thus 
originated: The Christianaux, having the use 
of arms before the Sioux, through the English 
at Hudson's Bay, they constantly warred upon 
the Assinipoils, who were their nearest neigh- 
bors. The latter being weak, sued for peace, 
and to render it more lasting, married the 
Christianaux women. The other Sioux, who 
had not made the compact continued to war; 
and seeing some Christianaux with the Assini- 
poils broke their heads. The Christianaux fur- 
nished the Assinipoils with arms and merchan- 

On the 16th, the Sioux returned to their 
village, and it was reported that the Ayavois 
and the Otoctatas were going to establish them- 
selves towards the Missouri river, near the 
Maha, who dwell in that region. On the 26th, 
the Mantantons and Oujalespoitons arrived at 
the fort; and after they had encamped in the 
woods, Wahkentape came to beg Le Sueur to 
go to his lodge. He there found sixteen men 
v/ith women and children, with their faces 
daubed with black. In the middle of the lodge 
^^'ere several buffalo skins, which were sewed 
for a' carpet. After motioning him to sit down, 
they wept for the fourth of an hour, and the 
chief gave him some wild rice to eat, (as was 
their custom) putting the first three spoonsful 
to his mouth. After which, he said all present 
were relatives of Tioscate, whom Le Sueur took 
to Canada in 1695, and who died there in 1696. 

At the mention of Tioscate they began to 
weep again, and wipe their tears and heads 
upon the shoulders of Le Sueur. Then Wah- 
kentape again spoke, and said that Tioscate 
begged him to forget the insult done to the 
Frenchmen by the Mendeoueantons, and take 
pity on his brethren by giving them powder 
and balls whereby they could defend themselves, 
and gain a living for their wives and children, 
who languished in a country full of game be- 
cause they had not the means of killing them. 
"Look," added the chief, "Behold thy child- 
ren, thy brethren, and thy sisters; it is to thee 



to see whether thou wishest them to die. They 
will live if thou givest them powder and ball; 
they will die if thou refusest." 

Le Sueur granted them their request, but as 
the Sioux never answer on the spot, especially 
in matters of importance, he • went out of the 
lodge without saying a word. The chief and 
all those within followed him as far as the 
door of the fort; and when he had gone in, 
they went around it three times; crying with 
all their strength, "Atheouanan" that is to 
say, "Father, have pity on us." (Ate unyanpi, 
moans "our father.'") 

The next day he assembled in the fort the 
principal men of both villages; and as it is not 
possible to subdue the Sioux or to hinder them 
from going to war, unless it be by inducing 
them to cultivate the earth, he said to them 
that if they wished to render themselves worthy 
of the protection of the king, they must abandon 
their errant life, and form a village near his 
dwelling, where they would be shielded from 
the insults of their enemies; and that they 
might be happy and not hungry, he would give 
them all the corn necessary to plant a large 
piece of ground; that the king, their and his 
chief, in sending him, had forbidden him to 
purchase beaver skins, knowing that this kind 
of hunting separates them and exposes them to 
their enemies; and that in consequence of this 
he had come to establish himself on Blue 
river and vicinity, where they had many times 
assured him were many kinds of beasts, for 
the skins of which he would give them all things 
necessary; that they ought to reflect that they 
could not do without French goods, and that 
the only way not to want them was, not to go 
to war with our allied nations. 

As it is customary with the Indians to ac- 
company their word with a present proportioned 
to the affair treated of, he gave them fifty 
pounds of powder, as many balls, six guns, ten 
axes, twelve armsfuls of tobacco and a hatchet 

On the 1st of December, the Mantantons in- 
vited Le Sueur to a great feast. Of four of 
their lodges they had made one, in which was 

one hundred men seated around, and every one 
his dish before him. After the meal, Wah- 
kentape, the chief, made them all smoke one 
after another in the hatchet pipe which had 
been given them. He then made a present to 
Le Sueur of a slave and a sack of rice, and 
said to him, showing him his men: "Behold 
the remains of this great village, which thou 
hast aforetunes seen so numerous! All the 
others have been killed in war; and the few 
njen whom thou seest in this lodge, accept 
the present thou hast made them, and are re- 
solved to obey the great chief of all nations, 
of whom thou hast spoken to us. Thou ought- 
est not to regard us as Sioux, but as French, 
and instead of saying the Sioux are miserable, 
and have no mind, and are fit for nothing but 
to rob and steal from the French, thou shalt 
say my brethren are miserable and have no 
mind, and we must try to procure some for 
them. They rob us, but I will take care that 
they do not lack corn, that is to say, all kinds 
of goods. If thou dost this I assure thee 
that in a little time, the Mantantons will be- 
come Frenchmen, and they will have none of 
tliose vices with which thou reproachest us." 

Having finished his speech, he covered his 
face with his garment, and the others imitated 
him. They wept over their companions who had 
died in war, and chanted an adieu to their 
country in a tone so gloomy that one could not 
keep from partaking of their sorrow. 

Wahkentape then made them smoke again, 
and distributed the presents, and said that he 
was going to the ilendeoucantons, to inform 
them of the resolution, and invite them to do 
the same. 

On the 12 th, three Mendeoucanton chiefs and 
a large number of Indians of the same, village, 
arrived at the fort, and the next day gave sat- 
isfaction for robbing the Frenchmen. They 
brought 400 pounds of beaver skins, and prom- 
ised that the summer following, after their 
canoes were built and they had gathered their 
wild rice, that they would come and establish 
themselves near the French. The same day 
tliey returned to their village east of the ilis- 



After the adventures of the intrepid Le Sueur 
a long period of silence fell upon the country 
of the Blue Earth. Doubtless the region was 
occasionally visited by some of the bold French 
voyagers, who swarmed everywhere over the 
northwest in those days in the interest of the 
fur companies, but they have left us no record. 

Along toward the end of the first week in 
December, 1766, a venturous Connecticut Yan- 
kee, named Captain Jonathan Carver, bent on 
an exploring tour of the western wildes, passed 
up the Minnesota, by the mouth of the Blue 
I'^arth, in an Indian canoe, with one or two In- 
dian guides in his company. How far he as- 
cended the river is not very definitely known. 
Some think it was to a point opposite the mouth 
of the Big Cottonwood. He himself states in 
his book that the distance from the mouth of 
the Minnesota to Carver river was 40 miles, 
and from there to the mouth of the Blue Earth 
another forty miles, and that the total distance 
he ascended the river was 200 miles. This 
would make the place where he met the large 
camp of Indians with whom he spent the win- 
ter, somewhere between Granite Falls and Lac 
qui Parle on the north bank of the river. The 
chart he drew indicates the spot to have been 
in that vicinity as well as the number of days 
hfc spent on the Journey. Though it was the 
?th of December when he reached the Indian 
village still the river was free of ice. Indeed, 
it seems to have been a very mild and open 
wmter. In commenting on the weather Carver 
says, that there was very little snow all winter 
and that it did not seem to him as cold as the 
New England winters. He, also, states that the 
Indians claimed that this was an average win- 

ter, and that the fact that they had no snow 
shoes, showed that the snowfall was generally 

During his five months sojourn among these 
Sissetons, he went on frequent hunting trips, 
but what explorations he made into the coun- 
try of the Blue Earth we are not told though 
we gather that he made some. He was evi- 
dently much impressed with the beauty of the 
locality from the word pictures he drew of its 
fine scenery. 

"The river St. Pierre, which runs through 
the territories of the Naudowessies, flows through 
a most delightful country, abounding with all the 
necessaries of life that grow spontaneously, 
and with a little cultivation it might be made 
to produce even the luxuries of life. Wild 
rice grows here in great abundance; and every 
part is filled with trees bending under their 
loads of fruit, such as plums, grapes and ap- 
ples; the meadows are covered with hops, 
and many sorts of vegetables, whilst the 
ground is stored with useful roots, with angel- 
ica, spikenard, and ground-nuts as large as 
hen's eggs. At a little distance from the sides 
of the river are eminences from which you 
liave views that cannot be exceeded even by the 
most beautiful of those I have already de- 
scribed; amidst these are delightful groves, and 
such amazing quantities of maples that they 
would produce sugar sufficient for any number 
of inhabitants. 

"Near the branch which is termed the Mar- 
ble river is a mountain, from whence the In- 
dians get a sort of red stone, out of which they 
hew the bowls of their pipes. In some of 
these parts is found a black hard clay, or 




rather stone of which the Naudowessie make 
their family -utensils. This country likewise 
abounds with a milk white clay of which 
chinaware might be made equal in goodness 
to the Asiatic; also with a blue clay that 
serves the Indians for paint, with this last 
they contrive by mixing it with the red stone 
powdered, to paint themselves of diSerent 
colors. Those that can get the blue clay here 
mentioned paint themselves very much with 
it particularly when they are about to begin 
their sports and pastimes. It is also es- 
teemed by them a mark of peace, as it has a 
resemblance of blue sky, which with them is a 
svmbol of it, and make use of it in their 
speeches as a figurative expression to denote 
peace when they wish to show that their in- 
clinations were pacific toward other tribes, they 
greatly ornament both themselves and their 
belts with it." 

Another long silence ensues and in May 
1820 two Scotchmen, named Graham and 
Laidlow, from Lord Selkirk's Colony at Pem- 
bina, who had been down to Prairie du Chien 
to purchase seed for the Eed river settlements, 
whose fields had been devastated by grasshop- 
pers, passed in three Mackinaw boats up the 
Minnesota. The boats were loaded with two 
hundred bushels of wheat, one hundred bushels 
of oats and thirty bushels of peas, and pro- 
pelled by six men on each boat with long 
poles. Along bcth sides of each boat a 
foot board was placed, and the men ranged 
in order upon .these boards three on each 
side. Each in turn would walk to" the front 
of the boat, plant his pole in the bottom 
of the river and push the boat ahead walk- 
ing as he did so along the foot board un- 
til he reached the rear, where he would pick up 
his pole and return to the head of the boat 
and repeat the process. For over a hundred 
years this method of navigation was common 
on the Minnesota and other western streams. 
Ixearly always the boatmen were French voy- 
agers, who by practice had special skill in 
this work. It was their custom to sing as 
they handled their poles, and often in those 
days of the fur trade the echoes of the Min- 
i:esota valley were awakened by the melodies of 

old France. In the present instance the 
crews pushed their freighted boats up the 
Minnesota into Big Stone Lake, hauled them 
on rollers across the portage of one and one- 
half miles into Lake Traverse and thence de- 
scending the Sioux Wood river and Eed river 
to the Pembina country where they arrived 
June 3rd, 1820. 

Here they sold their produce at a good price 
and the crews returned on foot as far as Big 
Stone Lake and thence in canoes down the 
Minnesota and Mississippi to Prairie du Chien. 
Charles St. Antoine, who in 1856, lived near 
Xorthfield, Miinn., was one of the number. In 
further evidence of the use made of our wa- 
ters in those early days, and the skill display- 
ed by the French voyagers in their navigation, 
we are told that in the early part of the eigh- 
teenth century La Framboise and his voyagers, 
after spending the winter trapping and purchasing 
furs along the upper Des Moines, dragged their 
boats across a portage of a mjile and a half 
only, between the waters of the Des Moines and 
the waters of the Watonwan, and descending 
the latter stream to the Blue Earth, found 
their way into the Minnesota and Mississippi 
with their cargoes of peltries. This portage 
from the Des Moines into the Watonwan was 
in the vicinity of Windom, into a lake called 
by the Indians, Tchan-shetcha (Drywood 
Lake), which formed the source of one of the 
f(irks of the Watonwan. The portage seemed 
to have been noted enough to find a place on 
Nicollet's map, which indicates -the use made 
of the Watonwan in the traffic of the fur 

Some years ago as a farmer named Kem- 
nitz was excavating for a barn at the foot of 
the bluff Just across the river from the old 
village of South Bend he discovered the stone 
foundaljion of some ancient building. It was 
buried three or four feet under ground and 
large trees had grown over it. Evidently 
there had been an excavation made into the 
bluff and the rear wall built five or six feet 
high and about forty feet long against the bluff 
and two lateral walls about 24 feet long . erect- 
ed for the sides. The inner surface of the 
stone had been dressed and the wall laid 


in mortar. A superstructure and front of and taste yet the French readily adopted all 
logs had been doubtless used to complete the the squalor and roughness of barbarism. Their 
building. This log part had probably burnt, ambition was not to lay the foundations of 
as the inner surface of the stones had been a home, but of a fortune. They came not to 
blackened by smoke and glazed by heat, and possess the land, but its spoils. They found a 
most of the rear wall had fallen in. A pile vald country, with wilder inhabitants, and left 
of ashes, some clam shells, and what seemed both unchanged. They sojourned in the land 
to be an liron poker, which crumbled when a hundred and fifty years and then suddenly 
touched, were found inside. Probably this the land knew them not. Another people with 
was the site of some ancient trading post a different purpose discovered the same wil- 
dating back one hundred and fifty to two derness and it disappeared. They looked the 
hundred years. There is no record or tradi- same savagery in the face and it vanished, 
tion of anv such post in this vicinity, but the and the old order quickly gave place to the 
ruins remain to tell the only tale of a business new. These newcomers have known the land hard- 
venture of some white man iin the long ago. ly fifty years, but the impress they have made 

From these glimpses into this western wil- upon it cannot be effaced in a thousand years, 
derness by the Blue Earth during the century It is to the coming of these miracle workers of 
and half prior to the advent of the settlers modern civilization — ^these invincibles of a vital 
we find that it was not wholly untouched Christianity that we now turn, 
by the foot of the pale face. On the contrary In the summer of lft23 ilaj. Stephen H. 
that hardy race of French traders and voy- Long of the U. S. Army made an exploring 
agers hunted and trapped in these forests and trip up the ilinnesota river to its source, 
valleys and plains for ages before the coming under directions of the secretary of war, and 
of the modern agriculturist. In daring, en- his notes were published in the government 
durance and resourcefulness these Arabs of reports. He was accompanied by Prof. Wjil- 
our northern frontier could not be surpassed, liam Keating of the University of Pennsyl- 
Their lives were a succession of adventures and vania, who wrote a book giving a full account 
replete with herolism. Quick, yet cool, fear- of the expedition, which was published in two 
less, yet cautious, affable yet stern, they were volumes in 1885 at London. In the same ex- 
well fitted to meet the savagery, which sur- pedition also came an eccentric Italian, J. C. 
rounded them. Deprivations and hardships Beltrami, who, also, wrote an account of the 
never dulled their ardor or dissipated their trlip in French, which was published in New 
light heartedness. With merry Jest and song Orleans. This expedition and the various books 
they cheered the gloom of the evening camp written about it, attracted wide attention to 
fires, and the weariness of the long pull the Minnesota Valley. The expedition, how- 
against the current or of the heavy load across ever, did not touch Blue Earth county, but 
the portage. They built no permanent abodes purposely avoided it by a portage over land 
but roamed over the great commons of nature from Traverse Des Sioux to Eed Stone be- 
at their will. In their day, these experts of cause of the hostility of the Indians about the 
the wilderness, made not only the Minnesota, mouth of the Blue Earth, inspired by the sad 
but the Blue Earth and all its tributaries fate of their chief Mazakoota. 
highways of their commerce. History, how- In 1835 an Englishman, named Geo. W. 
ever, has preserved but few annals of these Featherstonhaugh, who had been commissioned 
Nimrods of the West, and hence we must pass U. S. Geologist by Col. J. J. Ahert of the 
them by, and come to the real forerunners of bureau of Topographical Engineers, made an 
our modern civilization, the explorers, who exploring trip up the Minnesota valley. In 
attracted the attention of the home seeker to the Company was Prof. William W. Mather, 
the country. a native of Connecticut, then a scientific in- 

While retaining a certain native politeness structor at West Pdint, but later state geolo- 



gist of Ohio. A man of great scientific ability, 
principally as a geologist. 

Two works were published as the fruit 
of this expedition. One an official report pub- 
lished by the government in 1836 and the 
other entitled "A Canoe Voyage up the Miin- 
naj'-sotar" published in London in 1847; both 
of which helped to call attention to the coun- 
try. In the latter work Featherstonhaugh 
speaks of a trip he took up the Blue Earth to 
investigate the copper mine of Le Sueur. 

As this portion of his narrative pertains to 
Blue Earth County, it has a special interest to 
us and we give it in an abridged form. 

"September 22nd, (1835) soon after 8 A. M. 
we came to the mouth of the Mahkatoh or 'Blue 
Earth Biver.' This was a bold stream, about 
80 yards wide, loaded with mud of a bluish 
color, evidently the cause of the St. Peter's 
being so turbid. It was not far from the mouth 
of this river that M. Le Sueur was asserted to 
have discovered in 1692 an immense deposit of 
copper ore. No traveller had ever entered the 
river to investigate his statement; I therefore 
directed the head of the canoe to be turned into 
the stream. Having ascended it about a mile, 
we found a Sisseton family established with 
tlieir skin lodge upon a sand bar. These people 
constantly asserted that they knew of no re- 
mains of any old fort or stone building in that 
part of the country. Whilst we were negotiat- 
ing this exchange, it began to snow for the 
first time this autumn. Pushing on, we passed 
a singular conical grassy hill on the right bank, 
which commanded all the vicinity, and appeared 
to be a likely situation for the site of Le 
Sueur's fort. About twelve, we came to a fork 
or branch coming' down on our right, about 
forty-five yards broad, and we turned into it, 
having a well wooded blufl! on the right bank, 
about ninety feet high. We had not proceeded 
three-quarters of a mile when we reached the 
place which the Sissetons had described to us 
as being that to which the Indians resorted for 
their pigment. This was a bluff about 150 
feet high, on the left bank, and from the slope 
being much trodden and worn away, I saw at 
once that it was a locality which for some pur- 
pose or other had been frequented from a very 

remote period. We accordingly stopped there, 
■\\rhilst I examined the place. 

"As soon as I had reached that part of the 
bluff whence the pigment had been taken, Le 
Sueur's story lost aU credit with me, for I 
ii'Stantly saw that it was nothing but a con- 
tinuation of the seam which divided the sand- 
stone from the limestone, and which I have be- 
fore spoken of at the Myah Skah, as contain- 
ing a silicate of iron of a bluish-green color. 

"The concurrent account of all the Indians 
we had spoken with, that this was the place 
tlie aborigines had always resorted to, to pro- 
cure their pigment, and the total silence of 
everybody since Le Sueur's visit respecting any 
deposit, of copper ore, in this or any other 
part of- the country, convinced me that the story 
of his copper mines was a fabulous one, most 
probably invented to raise himself in impor- 
tfince with the French government of that day. 
Charlevoix having stated that the mine was only 
a league atid three-quarters from the mouth of 
the Terre Bleu, made it certain that I was now 
at that locality, and the seam of coloured earth 
gave the key to the rest. Le Sueur's account 
of the mine being at the foot of a mountain 
ten leagues long, was as idle as the assertion 
that he had obtained 30,000 pounds of copper 
ore in twenty-two days, for there is nothing like 
a mountain in the neighborhood. The blufi, 
to be sure, rises to the height of 150 feet from 
the river; but when you have, ascended it, you 
find yourself at the top of a level prairie. 
Finding the copper mine to be a fable, I turned 
niy attention — &c., &c." 

In 1838 Jean N. Nicollet, a fine scholar, and 
the most accurate and thorough of all the ex- 
plorers of the Northwest, after whom Nicollet 
County is named, visited Blue Earth County. 
He came in the employ of the U. - S. Govern- 
ment to gather material for a map of the upper 
Mississippi region, and the famous explorer, 
soldier and statesman. General John C. Fre- 
mont was commissioned as his special assistant. 
A number of specialists were, also, attached to 
the expedition. They made quite an extended 
tour of the county to explore its many rivers 
and lakes, so that they might be properly delin- 
eated on the proposed map, and Nicollet was 



careful to note their Indian names. A number 
of astronomic observations were taken at dif- 
ferent points to determine the longitude and 
latitude, and the elevation above the sea. At 
the mouth of the Blue Earth, on the Le Sueur 
in McPherson, on the Cobb in Beauford or 
Medo, on the Maple in Lyra, on the Blue Earth 
in Shelby and Vernon Center, in Pleasant 
Mound, on the Watonwan in Garden City, and 
doubtless at other points in the county, these 
scientific measurements were made, and the di- 
rections of the rivers and the general topography 
of the country noted. The flora of the region 
was gathered, and the geology inspected, and 
every matter of special interest investigated and 
reported. Xicollet was particularly impressed 
by the great number of streams tributary to the 
Blue Earth and his fine poetic fancy suggested 
the fitting name of "Undine" for this land of 
rivers, after the famous German romance of 
Fouque. We quote from Nicollet's narrative a 
short passage regarding the country of which 
Blue Earth County is now the center. 

"Among these that which appeared to me the 
most favorable, is the one watered liy the bold 
Mankato or Blue Earth river, and to which I 
have given the name of 'Uiidine region.' 

The great number of the navigable tributaries 
of the Mankato, spreading themselves out in the 
shape of a fan; the group of lakes surrounded 
by well-wooded hills ; some wide-spreading prai- 
ries with fertile soil ; others apparently less 
favored, but open to .improvement the whole to- 
gether bestow upon this region a most pictures- 
que appearance. It was while on a visit to 
lakes Okamanpidan and Tchanhassan (Little 
Heron and Maplewood lakes), that it occurred 
in me to give it the name tliat I have adopted, 
derived from that of an interesting and roman- 
tic German tale, the heroine of which be- 
longed to the extensive race of water-spirits 
living in the brooks and rivers and lakes, whose 
father was a mighty prince. She was, moreover, 
the niece of a great brook (the Mankato) who 
lived in the midst of forests, and was beloved 
by all the many great streams of the surround- 
ing country, etc, etc. 

"The Mankato becomes navigable witli boats 
within a few miles of its sources. It is deep, 

with a moderate current along a great portion 
of its course, but becomes very rapid on its ap- 
proach to the St. Peter's. Its bed is narrowly 
walled up by banks rising to an elevation of 
from sixty to eighty feet, and reaching up to 
the uplands through which the river flows. 
These banks are frequently cliffs, or vertical 
escarpments, such as the one called by the 
Sioux, "Manya Kickaksa," or "cleft elevation." 
The breadth of the valley through which it flows 
is scarcely a quarter of a mile. The latter, as 
well as the high grounds are well wooded; the 
timber beginning to spread out on both shores, 
especially since they have become less fre- 
quented by the Sioux hunters, and are not so 
often fired. But the crossings of the river are 
hard to find, requiring to be pointed out by an 
experienced guide. I have laid down on the 
map my route over the Undine region, and the 
geographical positions of the crossing places will 
be found in the table at the end of the report. 

"On the left bank of the Mankato, six miles 
from it^ mouth in a rocky bluff, composed of 
sandstone and limestone, are found cavities in 
which the famed blue or green earth, used by 
the Sioux as their principal pigment, is ob- 
tained. This material is nearly exhausted, and 
it is not likely that this is the spot where a 
Mr. Le Sueur (who is mentioned in the narra- 
tive of Major Long's Second Expedition, as 
aJso by Mr. Featherstonhaugh) could, in his 
tl'ird voyage during the year ITOO have collected 
his four thousand pounds of copper earth sent 
Ijy him to France. I have reason to believe that 
Le Sueur's location is on the river to which I 
have affixed his name, and which empties into 
the Mankato three quarters of a league above 
Fort L'Huillier, built by him, and where he 
spent a winter. 

"This location corresponds precisely with that 
given by Charlevoix, while it is totally inappli- 
cable to the former. Here the blue earth is 
abundant in the steep and elevated hills at the 
mouth of this river, which hills form a broken 
country on the right side of the Mankato. Mr. 
Fremont and myself have verified this fact — 
he during his visit to the Le Sueur river, and 
I upon the locality designated by ilr. Feather- 
stonhaugh, where the Dakotahs formerly as- 



sembled in great numbers to collect it, but to 
which they now seldom resort, as it is now com- 
paratively scarce — at least so I was told by 
SJeepy Eye, the chief of the Sissetons, who ac- 
companied me during this excursion. 

"As I did in the case of the red pipestone de- 
scribed above I will state the mineralogical char- 
acter of the Indian blue earth or clay. It is 
massive, somewhat plastic, emits an argillaceous 
odor when breathed upon; color bluish green; 
easily scratched with the nail, when formed into 
hardened balls. The acids have no action upon 
it; it is infusible before the blowpipe, but loses 
it.-- color and becomes brown. This color is due 
tc the peroxide of iron which it contains in the 
proportion of ten per cent at least. It con- 
tains no potash and but a small proportion of 
lime. It is a very different mineral from that 
described by Dr. Thompson under the name of 

General Fremont speaks of their visit to the 
Blue Earth country and gives a glimpse of the 
party at work in the following extract we 
take from his "Memoirs:" 

"The Traverse des Sioux is a crossing place 
about thirty miles long, where the river makes a 
large rectangular bend, coming down from the 
northwest and turning abruptly to the northeast; 
the streams from the southeast, the south and 
southwest flowing into a low line of depression 
to where they gather into a knot at the head of 
tliis bend, and into its lowest part as into a 
bowl. In this great elbow of the river is the 
Marahtanka, or Big Swan Lake, the summer 
resort of the Sisseton Sioux." After describing 
their camp at the mouth of the Big Cottonwood 
he proceeds, "We were occupied quietly among 
the Indians, Mr. ISTicollet, as usual, surrounded 
by them, with the aid of the interpreter getting 
them to lay out the form of the lake, and the 
course of the streams entering the river near, 
and after repeated pronunciations, entering their 
names in his note book ; Geyer, followed bv some 
Indians, curiously watching him while digging 
up plants; and I more numerously attended, 
pouring out the quicksilver for the artificial 
horizon, each in his way busy at work; when 
suddenly every thing started into motion, the 
Indians running tumultuously to a little rise 

w^hich commanded a view of the prairie, all 
clamor and excitement. The commotion was 
caused by the appearance of two or three elk on 
the prairie horizon. Those of us who were 
strangers, and ignorant of their usages, fancied 
there must be at least a war party in sight." 
He further states, "AVhile Mr. Nicollet was oc- 
cupied in making a survey of the Le Sueur 
river, and identifying localities, and verifying 
accounts of preceding travelers, I was sent to 
make an examination of the Mankato or Blue 
Earth rivers, which bore on the subject he had 
in view." 

The results of this expedition were incor- 
porated by Mr. Nicollet in a very interesting 
and instructive report, which was accompanied 
by a large and most valuable map, the most 
complete and accurate of the upper Mississippi 
country, which up to that time had been pro- 
duced, and for years was the basis of most 
maps of the region. General J. K. Warren, a 
high authority, declares it to be; "One of the 
greatest contributions ever made to American 
geography." It probably did as much as any 
one thing in directing the attention of settlers 
to the Blue Earth region. Many of our pioneers 
attribute their coming to this part of the land 
to this map. 

In July, 1841, Gov. James D. Doty of Wis- 
consin, while negotiating a treaty with the In- 
dians at Traverse des Sioux, made a visit to 
the country of the Blue Earth to which he 
refers in a report the fojlowing year in these 
words: 'TTou are aware that at the mouth of 
the Mahkato river there was, a hundred years 
ago, a copper smelting establishment erected by 
a Frenchmen. I visited the ruins last summer. 
There is no. doubt in my mind that extensive 
beds of copper ore will be found in the valley 
of the Minisoto," etc. We wonder what the 
governor really saw to make him believe that 
they were the "ruins of a copper smelting es- 
tablishment," or to make him so sure that there 
was copper in the country. 

Early in October, 1844, Captain B. V. Sum- 
ner and Lieut. J. Allen with a company of 
dragoons from Fort Atkinson, while on an ex- 
pedition to Lac qui Parle to arrest some Indians, 
who had murdered three cattle drovers, passed 



tlirough Blue Earth Count}', cutting a road for 
tlieir supply wagons through the timber, fol- 
lowing an old Indian trail from the present 
town of Decoria to where now stands the city o'f 
Mankato. They descended" into the valley over 
Bunker hill and camped one night near the 
south end of Front street. 

They passed down the valley to the crossing 
at Traverse des Sioux. In two or three weeks 
they returned by the same route with four or 
five Indian prisoners, but they did not prove 
tj be the real guilty ones. The following June 
therefore, Captain Sumner led a second expedi- 
tion over the same road. Henry M. Eice was 
sutler to these military campaigns. Seven years 
later the first settlers at Mankato discovered this 
old militar}' road and used it for a time. Be- 
side it in the timber the)', also, found a broken 
and abandoned military wagon. 

During 1847-50 a geological survey was made 
of the IMinnesota and Blue Earth rivers under 
direction of Dr. D. D. Owen. IMost of the work 
in Blue Earth County was done by Prof. B. 
F. Shumard. Extended reports of these surveys 
were published by the government. The year 
1850 was mainly noted in the history of our 
ccmmonwealth because of its steamboat excur- 
sions up the Minnesota river. Prior to this year 
no steamer had ever ascended our sky-tinted 
river more than a few miles above its mouth. 
It was supposed to be unnavigable except for 
irackinaw boats and Indian canoes, especially 
beyond the Eapids at Carver. In the latter 
part of June, 1850, a big freslict occurred in 
tliC river just as the Anthony Wayne, a Mis- 
sissippi boat, in charge of Captain Able, ar- 
rived at St. Paul. The Wayne was a fairly 
good sized, side-wheel boat and had an excursion 
aboard of seventy persons from St. Louis. They 
■s^ere a jolly crowd and had brought with them 
a string band from Quincy, Illinois, to help 
enliven the trip. Seeing so much water in the 
^rinnesota, someone suggested an excursion upon 
it with the Wayne. After consultation with 
river pilots, who had been up the ]\Iinnesota 
in Mackinaw boats, Captain Abies concluded to 
make the venture. The people of St. Paul gen- 
erally took a great interest in the project through 
the efforts of Henry L. Tilden and David 01m- 

stead, and a purse of $225.00, to defray the ex- 
penses, was quickly raised. So on Friday, June 
28th, 1850, the Anthony Wayne with over 150 
of St. Paul's most prominent citizens and their 
seventy St. Louis guests on board, turned her 
prow up the unknown waters of tlie ilinnesota. 
At Fort Snelling the military band joined the 
jiarty. The day was [)erfect, the scenery, 
adorned with the luxuriant vegetation of the 
season was mag-nificent. The boat went as far 
as the rapids and returned to St. Paul by 
night without a single mishap. The success of 
the trip, the beauty and fertility of the great 
valley surpassed all expectations. Other boats 
grew envious of the sudden popularity of the 
Wayne. Two weeks later, another steamer, the 
ISTominee, thinking she could do as much and 
n:ore than her rival, got up another big ex- 
cursion and ascended not only to the rapids,, but 
through them, and having planted her shingle 
two or three miles above them returned in tri- 
umph. The Anthony Wayne, not to be outdone 
by the "Xominee" got tip another monster ex- 
cursion and on Thursday, July 18th. ascended 
the river to the big bend, a mile or two below 
the city of ]\Iankato. Animated by a spirit of 
emulation, Captain ^I. K. Harris of the 'TTan- 
kee" concluded to out do all the other boats. 
With the help of Colonel Goodhue and others 
hf, got up a big excursion party and on July 
S2nd, started up the now famous river. At 
Fort Snelling the military band was taken on 
board to help entertain the gala crowd. The 
"Yankee" had the advantage of being a smaller 
boat than the other two, and was a stern wheeler. 
Passing the shingles of the three former excur- 
sions, she arrived on the third night with her 
tlirong of sischtseers opposite the present village 
of Judson. The want of provisions, the excessive 
heat — 104 in the shade — and the pestiferous at- 
tacks of myriads of mosquitoes finally on the 
morrow induced our explorers to turn back. At 
noon they tarried a few minutes at the mouth 
oP the Blue Earth, where they found a log trad- 
ing post, belonging to H. H. Sibley in charge 
of a Frenchman. It stood at the base of Sibley 
5[ound — at its northwest corner. Some of the 
party picked up a small lump of ligTiite coal 
from among the bed of pebbles found at the 


junction of the rivers. The Frenchman as- 
sured them that a few miles up the Blue Earth 
there was: a vein three or four feet thick of the 
same substance. Perhaps he inferred so from 
the Indian name "ila^yasapa'' (Black Banks) ap- 
plied to the mouth of the Blue Earth in dis- 
tinction to Mayaskadan (white banks) the In- 
dian name for the mouth of the Minnesota, or it 
may be this coal mine lies buried in the same 
lost moiTutain as Le Sueur's copper mine. 

These excursions fully demonstrated the navi- 
gability of the ilinnesota, and the hundreds 
of people who had participated in them were all 
completely captivated by the beauty and fertility 
of the country, and went everywhere proclaiming 
it. St. Paul went wild about it. Her papers 
were full of glowing accounts of its wonderful 
wealth and splendor. Her citizens could talk of 
nothing else and every home seeker and fortune 
hunter was immediately inocculated with the 
idea that here was the land of promise. Having 
spied the land and found it so good and so 
accessible by boats, the white people became 

anxious to go in and possess it, and the result 
was the great event of the following year, 
namely : the treaties of Traverse des Sioux and 
ilendota. By these important treaties, negotiat- 
td in Jul}- and August, 1851, the Sioux or 
Dakota Indians, transferred to the whites all of 
}linnesota. south of St. Cloud and Morehead and 
west of the Mississippi, taking in also portions 
of Iowa and of South Dakota — an empire in 
area — an Eldorado in wealth and a Paradise in 

Xo sooner was the treaty signed than set- 
tlers began to pour into the country, and the 
winter of 1851-2 witnessed the founding of many 
townsites along the Minnesota valley. Most 
of the proprietors of these towns were citizens 
cf St. Paul, and were thus most advantageously 
located to direct the tide of immigration toward 
their new possessions; for St. Paul then was 
the gateway of Minnesota. Shakopee, Le Sueur, 
Traverse des Sioux, St. Peter as well as Man- 
kato and other valley towns of that date were 
so founded. 



Among the excursionists on board the "Yan- 
kee" in 1850 were two, who were specially 
impressed by the country at the mouth of the 
Blue Earth. They were Henry Jackson and 
Parsons King Johnson, both prominent residents 
of St. Paul. 

Mr. Jackson was a native of Virginia where 
he was born in February, 1811. When a young 
man he went to Texas and in 1836-7 served as 
orderly sargent in the Patriot war. Soon after 
this he returned to the states and located at 
Buffalo, New York. Here in May, 1838, he 
married Angelina Bevins and moved the same 
spring to Green Bay, Wis., and thence in a year 
or two to Galena, 111., where he engaged in 
business. In June, 1842, he and his wife landed 
at the present site of St. Paul where there was 
hardly a habitation in which they could find 
shelter for the first night, which chanced to be 
dark and rainy. Soon he purchased of one Ben. 
Gervais three acres of land bounded at present 
by Bench, Eobert, Third and Jackson streets 
and erected the first house with a shingled roof 
ia our capitol city. In this building he con- 
ducted the first store, the first hotel, the first 
post office and the first court in St. Paul. He 
was appointed postmaster in 1816, though he 
liad acted in that capacity for some years prior. 
He was elected a member of the Wisconsin As- 
sembly, while St. Paul still pertained to that 
9tate, and later he was a member of the first 
territorial legislature of Minnesota. He also 
served on the first town council of St. Paul. 
A strong character, able, energetic, self reliant, 
e^er ready for any new enterprise — such was 
Henry Jackson. Mr. Johnson, his brother-in- 
hiAv, was a A'ermont man by birth, and a tailor 
by trade. In the spring of 1837, on attaining 

his majority he came west, and located first at 
liockford. III, then at Prairie du Chien, whence 
h.e came to St. Paul in the spring of 1847, and 
boarded for some time with Henry Jackson. In 
j\[ay, 1850, married Laura Bivens, a sister of Mrs. 
Jackson. He had been a member of the first 
territorial legislature of Minnesota. Genial, 
witty, companionable, he made friends wherever 
he went. While better educated and more re- 
fined and even tempered than Jackson, he lacked 
the latter's push and energy. This with his dis- 
inclination to selfish advantage and acquisition, 
and his convivial habits, which he shared with 
his friend Jackson, and with too many of the 
pioneers of his day, hindered his accumulation 
of much property. His happy, contented and 
peaceable disposition, however, insured him more 
enjoyment and length of days than wealth could 
have done. 

jMany are the stories told of his wit and 
humor. Space forbids the narration of more 
than two to illustrate his characteristics. 

It was in the antibellum days, when politics 
^vere intense and their discussion often rufEled 
the temper. A big hurley stranger of English 
descent had drawn Johnson into a hot dispute 
over some question of disagreement between the 
two nations. The Englishman challenged John- 
son to fight him. After both had reached the 
street and taken off their coats Johnson with 
the gravest expression of countenance said to 
bis antagonist : "Stranger, before we engage 
in this first encounter let us sit down a bit and 
sing a hymn, omitting the first and last stanzas." 
The ridiculous suggestion broke up the fight, 
and the Englishman departed with his wrath 
badly punctured. 

It was the fifth of July in the days when 




Mankato was a -village and Squire Johnson sat 
on the bench of justice. Two women walked into 
the court room and one of them related most 
vividly, how her husband in attempting to cele- 
brate the great day of American Independence, 
had grossly overdone the matter, much against 
the peace and dignity of the State of Minnesota, 
as was evidenced by certain scratches and bruises 
exhibited by the wife. "P. K." as Johnson was 
familiarly called listened patiently to the wom- 
an's harrowing tale of the breach of the law, 
but the court had not recovered fully from the 
effects of his own celebration, and was aware of 
his inability, after looking earnestly at the wom- 
an a minute or two he asked, "Are you a mem- 
ber of the Presbyterian Church?" Surprised 
and angry the woman sharply retorted "ISTo, I 
belong to no church. What has that to do with 
getting a warrant?" Johnson gravely replied, 
"Madame, I am very sorry, but the day after the 
Fourth my Jurisdiction is limited to the Pres- 
byterian church." The women expressed their 
opinions of the court in language quite vigorous 
and left in a hufE. 

Such were the two men, who in January, 

1852, at Jackson's store in St. Paul were dis- 
cussing earnestly the proposition of locating a 
townsite at the mouth of the Blue Earth. Fin- 
ally on Saturday, the 31st day of January, 

1853, having hired two wood choppers, named 
Daniel Williams and John James, and a team- 
ster, named Louis DeMoreau, to carry the men 
with the goods and provisions, they started for 
the site of their future city. Jackson and 
Johnson led the way in their cutter, while the 
rest of the party followed in the Frenchman's 
sleigh drawn by two Indian ponies. With the 
company went W. W. Paddock to view the coun- 

Winter, which the week before had sent the 
n^ercury thirty degrees below, had suddenly lost 
his grip, and the weather was balmy as April. 
The snow had mostly disappeared and the pro- 
gress of our travelers was slow and tedious. 
The first night was spent with the old Indian 
interpreter, Hugh Quinn, just above Fort Snell- 
ing. The second night they lodged with Tom 
Holmes, who had just built the first log cabin 
on the present site of Shakopee. Holmes had 

great expectations for his town. He said St. 
I'aul might make quite a city were it not so 
near Shakopee. The third night found our 
friends at the trading post of Nelson Robert, 
a mile or two below the present site of Belle 
Plaine. Here Jackson was taken sick and 
early next morning returned in the cutter to 
St. Paul. The rest of the party pressed on in 
De Moreau's sleigh, and camped the fourth 
night, where the city of Le Sueur now stands. 
Here Messrs. C'athcart and Christie, were in 
the act of laying out that townsite, and they 
were greatly exercised by the advent of John- 
son's party, fearing they had come to jump 
their valuable claim. Late at night the entire 
Le Sueur company each armed with a gun paid 
our tired travelers a visit, pretending they were 
just returning from a hunt, when in fact their 
object was to learn with what intent the new 
comers had arrived. Having learned this the 
Cathcart-Christie party departed, but lest there 
might be treachery, since it was plain that the 
spot they had chosen was sure to be the site 
of the biggest city west of Chicago, they spent 
the rest of the night staking out lots and build- 
ing log shanties. Unmindful of the trepida- 
tion their presence was causing, and of the fu- 
ture greatness of the spot on which they camped, 
our friends rose early next morning and by 
noon Traverse des Sioux was reached, then the 
principal point in the, Minnesota valley, where 
six months before had been held the great Sioux 
Treaty. David Faribault and Alexander Gra- 
ham had Indian trading posts here, and Nathan 
Myrick had opened a more pretentious store 
the previous November in charge of his brother, 
A. J. Myrick. Here, too, were the three neatly 
painted mission buildings of the American Board, 
and a few log houses, giving the place an air of 

After dinner our party proceeded as far as 
Joseph Provencelle's trading post, which stood 
about where the St. Peter Asylum is now lo- 
cated. Joseph or "Joe" as he was generally 
called was the son of the old Traverse des Sioux 
trader, Louis Provencelle (or "Le Blanc" as he 
was nicknamed) by an Indian mother. He had 
married a daughter of Sleepy Bye, the noted 
head chief of the Sissetons. The river had to 


be recrossed near Joe's cabin, but the recent 
thaw would not permit it that afternoon, as 
there was a rod or two of clear water on each 
side of the river. The night was therefore spent 
at Joe Provencelle's cabin. By morning our 
friends were able to cross the river on the 
fresh ice, but it was only to find their pro- 
gress arrested by a more serious obstacle. The 
Kasota plateau that winter was covered by a 
vast Indian camp. Hundreds of Indian dogs 
signaled loudly the unwonted approach of the 
whites and soon the Indians, men, women and 
children, came pouring out of their teepees to 
see what the commotion was about. Chief 
Sleepy Eye with a number of his braves went 
to meet our travelers and demanded the pur- 
pose of their visit. Upon being told, the old 
chief declared that his young men would not 
permit the whites to settle at the mouth of the 
Blue Earth, as it was the key to their best 
hunting grounds, and »there was located one of 
their principal sugar camps. To the argument 
that the Indians by the recent treaty had sold 
all these lands to the whites, Sleepy Eye replied 
• that they had not yet received their money. 
Every argument and appeal failed, and it 
looked as though the enterprise would have to 
be abandoned. Johnson's Yankee wit finally hit 
upon a new tact. Seeing that their recent host, 
Joe Provencelle, had come over to learn the 
cause of the trouble, and knowing him to be 
the chief's son-in-law, he called him to one side 
and explained to him that because of the poor 
sleighing, they would be obliged to divide their 
load and he wanted Joe to get his horse and 
sleigh and carry a portion of it in case Sleepy 
Eye would let them proceed.. He told Joe then 
what they would pay him, a most tempting 
price. Having thus got Joe Provencelle inter- 
ested on the side of the whites it did not take 
long for him to arrange things between his 
father-in-law and them. A few provisions in 
hand delivered and an order on Jackson for a 
barrel of pork satisfied his red majesty and John- 
son and his party were allowed to proceed, 
l^he order for pork referred to was not presented 
for a year or two, but one day an Indian 
brought it to Johnson at" Mankato, and it was 
honored. With Joe Provencelle as guide and 

helping transport the luggage, our travelers 
reached the mouth of the Blue Earth that after- 
noon, being Thursday, February 5th, 1853. 
Their first night in their chosen locality was 
spent on the east bank of the Blue Earth at the 
south foot of Sibley mound. 

Sibley's trading post and the Frenchman in 
charge of it had both disappeared from the 
other side of the mound, but on top of it about 
where the flagstaff now stands Mr. Sibley had 
caused the sides of a log shanty to be erected, 
with the view of claiming the location for a 
townsite. Just south of the mound where the 
race track is now situated was a fine meadow in 
which a very small stack of hay had been cut. 
The forenoon of the next day was spent by Mr. 
Johnson and his companions in exploring the 
land adjacent to the mound for the best loca- 
tion for their future city. Classic in many an 
Indian legend and French adventure was the 
ground they traversed. Just west of the Blue 
Earth was the site of an ancient Indian village, 
where the old chief Mahkato, had held sway. 
Here was the home of Akich-etah-dutah, whose 
sad tale of paternal love is worthy of immor- 
tal song. Here the Indian maiden Hapan, had 
poured out her lament and life for her unfor- 
timate lover. Here had lived the Indian chief 
Tioskate, who in 1695 had accompanied Le 
Sueur to ^lontreal and died there, after twenty- 
two rlavs illness; and here, five years later, Le 
Sueur had met sixteen of his weeping relatives. 
Here Wahkentape, another Sioux chief, had en- 
. tertained Le Sueur and his followers, at many 
a feast. Two and a half miles up the Blue 
Earth was the site of old Fort Le Huillier, 
built by the French in the autumn of 1700, 
while prospecting for copper in the clayey hanks of 
the river and where to this day the goods and 
the tools of the garrison are cached. Near by 
are the beds of bluish green clay, famed as a 
sacred pigment among all tlie aborigines, and 
which gave the river and our county their 

Investigation disclosed the fact that the lands 
immediately adjacent to the mouth of the Blue 
Earth were subject to overflow in high water, 
and hence not adapted for the location of the 
future city. Finally a narrow strip of prairie 



laying between Warren Creek and the stone 
quarry bench was selected. A beautiful spot it 
was, covered with tall dead grass, which waved 
in the breeze like a field of ripe grain, and 
interspersed here and there with clumps of 
brush and small trees. On one side the river 
swept in a grand curve affording a convenient 
boat landing, just above high water mark, while 
on the other side the great forest climbed in 
terraces the high bluff and thence stretched 
for miles, unbroken in its vastness, towering in 
its majesty, and impressive in its solitude. In 
the edge of this forest was a pond fed by a 
number of springs, which gushed from the foot 
of the bluff. A grove of tall graceful poplars 
encircles it, mingled with a tangle of willows 
and vines. At the south end of this pool, be- 
side a huge fallen tree, near the present site of 
Masonic hall, the first camp was pitched on 
the sixth of February, 1853. 

After hauling together a few logs, De Moreau 
and Paddock returned with the team to St. Paul, 
leaving Johnson, Williams and James to fashion 
the first cabin. No great architectural skill was 
displayed in its construction. A low log shanty, 
twelve feet square, plastered with black loam, 
gathered from some half thawed gopher hills, 
roofed with bark and floored with mother earth, 
it stood on the rear of lot 4 block 6 of Man- 
kato, about midway between the State bank and 
Patterson Wholesale block. A single opening in 
its easterly end served the double purpose of 
door and window. 

One day after the sides of the cabin had been 
raised, and while Johnson was inside of the 
enclosure cooking a savory mess of pork and 
beans for dinner over a camp fire, an Indian 
accompained by his young son called and de- 
manded food. As Johnson's supply of provisions 
were almost exhausted, owing to the heavy toll 
paid to old Sleepy Eye and Joe Provencelle, 
and there were no more nearer than St. Paul 
he was obliged to refuse. The Indian was a 
very large and ugly looking brute, who bore a 
hard name. Seeing Johnson was alone and 
unarmed he at once became insolent, and draw- 
ing a long sharp knife, motioned that he would 
cut the white man's throat. Johnson was just 
grabbing a big hickory poker from the ground 

for defense, when the boy, who had climbed to 
the top log of one side of the cabin for a look- 
out, saw Williams and James coming and 
quickly signaled his father and both beat a very 
hasty retreat. 

Wliile Johnson and his companions were erect- 
ing this first building in the city of Mankato 
and the County of Blue Earth, Jackson and a 
number of friends at St. Paul were booming the 
country of the Mahkato and its future metropolis. 
On February 14th the Blue Earth settlement 
Claim Association was organized there, with 
ten members, namely: Henry Jackson, P. K. 
Johnson, Daniel Williams, Col. D. A. Eobert- 
son, Justus C. Eamsey, J. M. Kastner, D. F. 
Erawley and William Hartshorn. A stock capi- 
tal of $1,000.00 divided into ten equal shares 
was subscribed for the enterprise. 

The honor of christening the new city was 
accorded to Mrs. P. K. Johnson and Mrs. 
Henry Jackson, who selected the name "Man- 
kato," upon the suggestion of Col. Robertson. 
He had taken the name from Nicollet's book, 
ill which the French explorer compared the 
"Mahkato" or Blue Earth river with all its 
tributaries, to the water nymphs and their uncle 
in the German legend of "Undine." Through 
some strange misunderstanding of the text, he 
thought the name to be that of a German water 
spirit, when in fact it was the Indian name of 
the Blue Earth river. Though in a way unin- 
tentional, no more appropriate name could be 
given the new city, than that of the noble 
river, at whose mouth it is located. The morn- 
ing after forming the claim association and the 
naming of the new city. Col. D. A. Robertson, 
Henry Jackson, Evans Goodrich, John S. Hinck- 
ley, with one or two others left St. Paul by 
team to visit the new settlement and carry pro- 
visions for it, which they knew from the mes- 
sage brought back by Paddock and De Moreau 
must be sorely needed. The morning before the 
arrival of this party at the new town, the last 
morsel of food had been eaten, and Johnson had 
gone on foot as far as Kasota in quest of help, 
when he met his old friends bringing the long 
expected supplies. 

Sixteen days now were spent by this conipany 
inspecting the new town and exploring the sur- 


rounding country. Then Robertson/ Jackson, 
Johnson and Hinckley returned to St. Paul leav- 
ing Williams, Goodrich, James and one or two 
others to hold their new possessions. On the 
JOth of February Evans Groodrich staked out 
northeast of the townsite, a claim of 160 acres, 
on a part of which is now situated Dukes Addi- 
tion to Mankato. John James and others, also, 
located claims just north of the new town. On 
March 13th, John S. Hinckley paid the new 
settlement a second visit, in company with one 
Henry D. J. Koons and both after locating 
claims, entered into the employ of the claim 
company for a time. Much interest was now 
taken at St. Paul, in the Blue Earth Country, 
and it formed the main topic of conversation. 
Five Germans rigged up a boat with a mast 
and sail intending to ascend the Minnesota to 
the land of promise. They were Jacob Guen- 
ther, Peter Frenzel, Philip Krummel, — Stultz 
and Joseph Weinheimer. The latter was the 
stepfather of Charles and Louis Graf, now of 
Mankato. On the 8th of April, after the ice 
had left the river and while the water was still 
over the banks, they loaded their baggage and 
provisions into the batteau and started on their 
journey. When they had proceeded about fif- 
teen miles, their sail caught in an overhanging 
limb and the boat was suddenly capsized and the 
five men were precipitated into the swift, icy 
current. Their cries for help were heard by 
some Indians in the vicinity and all saved, but 
Weinheimer, who was swept away and drowned. 
All the baggage and provisions were lost ex- 
cept one gun, which Guenther hung to with 
one hand, while he clung to the upturned boat 
with the other until rescued. After the body 
of their unfortunate companion had been re- 
covered and buried, the remaining four, noth- 
ing daunted, procured fresh supplies, and reached 
Mankato on foot before the last of May. Pleased 
with the country they all located upon claims 
near the townsite. 

Colonel D. H. Robertson was a very promi- 
nent character in St. Paul at that time and was 
the editor and publisher of "The Democrat," 
the most influential paper in the territory. 
Being a member of the townsite company he 

gave much publicity to the Blue Earth region 
in his paper, and the influence which he and 
Henry Jackson exerted in behalf of the new 
settlement was of great value. Largely through 
them the steamer Tiger was induced to make a 
trip to Mankato, where she arrived on April 
23rd, 1852, with a number of settlers and a 
quantity of goods and provisions. Both Robert- 
son and Jackson held licenses to trade with the 
Sioux, and the latter brought with him on this 
first boat a small stock of Indian goods, to start 
a trading post in charge of Mr. Johnson. On 
1he 28th of the same month the Tiger left St. 
Paul for her second trip up the Minnesota, 
crowded with passengers and freight, mostly for 
Mankato. The townsite company had some 
weeks prior purchased and sent up to be used 
in developing their property a span of mules, 
relics of the Mexican war. The logs were hauled 
for three or four small cabins, a boat landing 
constructed, and the brush cleared. Jackson 
had brought with him on the first boat, as em- 
ployees of the company, a Mr. Blair and Mr. 
James Rablin. On the second boat Mrs. James 
Rablin arrived, being the first white woman to 
settle in Mankato, or even Blue Earth county. 
The second cabin on the townsite was erected 
on block three (3), about one hundred feet 
north of the Hubbard Flour mill and about the 
same distance west of Front street. It was 
bailt with more care than the first. In size 
about 13x14 feet, and high enough so that a 
man could stand upright in it, without hitting 
his head against the joists. It had a window 
and a door, and a roof of slabs or clapboards. 
Mr. and Mrs. Rablin were put in possession of 
tiiis second shanty, and here about the entire 
population of Mankato boarded during this first 

About the 30th of May the Tiger arrived at 
Mankato on her third trip, bringing a number 
of passengers and another quantity of freight. 
Among the passengers at this time came Gen- 
eral Samuel Leech, a man of some prominence 
and means of Warsaw, Illinois, who had been 
the first Receiver of the Stillwater Land office. 
He was so favorably impressed with Mankato 
and its surrounding country that he bought the 


interest of Daniel Williams in the townsite com- In May of this year the company had their 
pany, paying $200.00 therefor. He proved a town surveyed and platted by S. P. Polsom, a 
valuable acquisition to the embryo city. civil engineer of St. Paul. 


OE 1853. 

During the spring of 1852 most of the land 
lying in the valley of the Minnesota, between 
Mankato and Kasota, was staked out into 160 
acre claims and occupied by settlers. On the 
first of June two young men of St. Paul named 
Josiah B. and Henry S. Gump had located on 
160 acres next adjoining the townsite of Man- 
ki'.to on the northeast, where are now situated 
Mankato city and the stone quarries. Before 
they had hardly completed their log cabin, on 
the 26th of the same month the Gump boys sold 
their claim to a very prominent real estate man 
of St. Paul, named Henry McKenty. On the 
8th of this same June the name of the river 
which heretofore had been the "St. Peter" was 
officially changed by act of Congress to the 
"Minnesota." The bill was introduced by Hon. 
Stephen A. Douglass as chairman of Committee 
on Territories, and was in response to a mem- 
orial for the change which the Legislature of 
Mianesota had sent to Congress. The real in- 
stigators of the change, it is claimed, were 
Martin McLeod and H. H. Sibley, who were 
familiar with the ancient Indian name, whose 
poetic meaning and euphony they admired. 

The Tiger after her third trip, having with- 
drawn from the Minnesota trade, the Black 
Hawk was induced to enter it. She left St. 
Paul on her first trip on July 3rd, 1852, with 
forty passengers aboard, fifteen of whom were 
booked for Mankato. Among the latter was 
Colonel D. A. Eobertson. Near the Carver Eap- 
ids they passed a keel boat carrying up the ma- 
chinery for J. W. Babeock's saw mill at Kasota. 
The boat reached Mankato on the morning of 
July 5th, Just as the young town was recovering 
from its first celebration of Independence Day. 

There had been a large attendance at this jubilee 
of native Americans, from the villages of Sleepy 
Eye, Bed Iron and Suntu mahnaduta. P. K. 
Johnson mounted on a dry goods box had read 
the immortal Declaration, and made a spread 
eagle speech, all of which has been duly inter- 
preted by Evans Goodrich to the copper hued 
democracy about them. 

In those pioneer days, however, the arrival of 
a steamboat was a greater event than any Fourth 
of July, no matter how glorious. Though a 
thunder shower was in full swing, when the 
Black Hawk approached the Mankato levee and, 
the deep tones of her whistle startled the echoes 
far and near, it did not deter a single person 
v/ithin a radius of three miles from being pres- 
ent at the landing. The occupants of every 
shanty and every wigwam were there, a motley, 
eager throng. 

Colonel Eobertson remained for some days at 
the new town exploring the country around it, 
and consulting with its resident proprietors as to 
ifc-i welfare. 

One immediate need, to which attention was 
then particularly drawn, was a highway to the 
east over which emigrants might come into the 
country. Only a week or two before six emi- 
grant families from Dubuque, Iowa, had come 
in their wagons, drawn by oxen across the coun- 
try. They struck the Decoria prairie, but missed 
the old dragoon road and, in the bewilderment 
of people who are lost, took a westerly course, 
and after infinite trouble and vexation crossed 
the net work of deep ravines formed by the 
Big Cobb, the Maple and the Blue Earth rivers 
and reached the present site of South Bend, 
whence they were obliged to cross the Blue 




Earth a second time to get to Mankato. The 
Kooky Mountains could hardly furnish a rougher, 
wilder bit of country than that which they 
traversed, and to say that they had a strenuous 
time is putting it mildly. The party spent a 
few days at Mankato recuperating and while 
there plowed a garden for P. K. Johnson and 
one or two others, probably the first plowing in 
Blue Earth county. They finally located upon 
claims near Kasota, 

During his Mankato visit Colonel Robertson 
met there John M. Norecong, who, with two 
others, had been sent by the colony at Rolling 
Stone near Winona, to spy the land, with a 
view to locate a highway from there to a point 
on the Minnesota at or near the mouth of the 
Blue Earth. They met with no obstacle until 
they struck the Big Woods in the vicinity of 
Waseca. When they became hopelessly entangled 
in the labyrinth of swamps and lakes forming 
the headwaters of the Le Sueur and Cannon 
rivers, between Smith's Mill and Elysian. Mr. 
Norecong finally reached Mankato, while his 
two companions found themselves at Traverse 
des Sioux. Colonel Robertson now concluded 
to accompany Mr. Norecong in his quest for a 
feasible highway route in and out of Mankato 
to the east and south. One of the mules be- 
longing to the townsite company had died, some 
claimed he had been carried away by the mos- 
quitoes. So Robertson packed on the remaining 
mule a camping outfit and some provisions, and 
on July 10th started on foot with Norecong by 
the old dragoon road. Cfossing the Le Sueur 
they soon reached the Decoria prairie and, turn- 
ing eastward by the way of McPherson and 
Wilton, discovered a very practicable wagon route 
to any point east or south. As Robertson wished 
to return to St. Paul, they followed the valley 
of the Cannon in a northeasterly direction and 
after eight days of adventure and hardship they 
reached St. Paul. 

As a result of this exploration Messrs. Reed, 
Thompson and Kennedy about a month later, 
under a commission from the State Legislature 
granted the previous winter, with the aid of 
a corps of surveyors and assistants, laid out a 
public highway from Reed's Landing at the 

foot of Lake Pepin to Mankato along the route 
suggested by our explorers. A little later a road 
was established from Winona, which entered 
Mankato by the same route through Wilton and 
tlie present village of St. Clair, and for more 
than twenty years thereafter the principal travel 
to and from Mankato and Blue Earth County 
east was along this route. Speaking of this visit 
in the "Democrat" Robertson stated that he 
foimd some thirty settlers located upon claims 
around Manltato and that a number of Germans 
had settled in the timber back of the town. 

On the 12th and again on the 21st of July, 
the Black Hawk left St. Paul for her second 
and third trips to Mankato, carrying thence 
each time many passengers and much freight. 
On the 20th of the same month the Tiger re- 
turned to the Minnesota and made her third 
trip to Mankato. With six boat arrivals at her 
wharf the very first season, Mankato and the 
country in her vicinity received quite a boom. 

During the summer (185^) P. K. Johnson 
built for himself on lot 1 block 14 of Mankato 
a comfortable house of hewn logs, into which 
he removed his store. His stock of goods com- 
prised as advertised in the "St. Paul Democrat," 
"clothing, crockery and groceries." 

Later in the fall Henry Jackson erected a 
good house of hewn logs on lot 5 of block 14, 
which he occupied with his family the next 
spring. The same fall Colonel Robertson had a 
log store building put up on lot 4 block 15, 
the interior of which was finished by Hiram J. 
Puller on his arrival in November. Here Evans 
Goodrich presided over a stock of Indian goods 
furnished by Robertson, and performed besides 
the duties pertaining to his various avocations of 
real estate dealer, surveyor and Justice of the 
peace. Early in October of this same year, 
James Hanna, George Maxfield, Milton Hanna, 
James Maxfield and Wesley Maxfield located 
claims of IGO acres each near the Le Sueur on 
the highway just laid out by Messrs. Reed, 
1'hompson and Kennedy, and then returned to 
tlicir homes in Licking County, Ohio, for their 
families. Besides those already named the year 
1853 witnessed the settling at Mankato or im- 
mediate vicinity of M. H. Bergholz, John Sehroe- 



der, John Trenhauser, Ephraim Colej Lewis H. 
YVinsloWj Minard Mills, James Hanna and many 
others whose names we did not learn and others 
v/ho did not remain but a short time. 

About December, 1853, the townsite company 
contracted with Windslow to build a large frame 
hotel, the same afterwards known as the "Man- 
kato House." He sublet the contract to Minard 
Mills, who during the winter got ready most of 
the frame work, and on March 14th, 1853, 
moved with his wife (afterwards Mrs. J. LuUs- 
dorf) to the new town and occupied the second 
claim shanty, recently vacated by James Rablin. 
In February, 1853, Eobert Wardlaw with his 
half brother, William Wood, arrived with a small 
stock of goods, having come upon the ice of 
the Mississippi and Minnesota all the way, in 
a two horse sled, from Dubuque. For a short 
time they occupied the first claim shanty, which 
M. H. Bergholz had purchased the previous 
July, but on the return of the owner in the 
spring, Mr. Wardlaw removed with his store to 
a claim shanty he had bought of Eablin below 
town, at the mouth of the ravine, which still 
bears his name. Connected with this removal 
occurred the first case of eviction in Blue Earth 
County. "WTien Wardlaw first arrived in Man- 
kato he had letters of introduction from friends 
in St. Paul to Evans Goodrich, and the latter 
received him into his cabin. Soon thereafter 
Goodrich and Wood took Wardlaw's team to St. 
Paul after a load of goods, half for Goodrich 
and half for Wardlaw. Goodrich had left Ward- 
law in charge of his store and left him a price 
list of the goods and of furs so he might trade 
with the Indians. A band of Indians happened 
to come down from the west with a lot of furs 
and instead of trading with Goodrich's goods, 
Wardlaw opened up his own stock and traded 
with them. When Goodrich returned and dis- 
covered this, a quarrel resulted between him 
and Wardlaw, and the latter had to seek new 
quarters. In the fall Bergholtz, owner of the 
lirst claim shanty, went to St. Paul for the 
vanter, leaving the key of his cabin with Mr. 

Wardlaw now coaxed Johnson to let him into 
Bergholtz shanty, which he finally did on the 

promise that he would vacate same at once 
when the owner returned. Bergholtz got back 
three or four weeks- later and found his cabin 
occupied by a stranger, who refused him admit- 
tance. He went to see Johnson about it, but 
Wardlaw declared he had no other place to go 
tu, and therefore could not vacate; that he was 
entitled to a reasonable notice before he could 
be forced out. Johnson reminded him on what 
condition he had been let into the building, and 
that he might have built a cabin of his own had 
lie made the effort. Wardlaw declared he intended 
to hold the fort and would fight if necessary, 
pointing to a couple of pistols in his belt. 
Johnson now went after Jim Eablin, a dare 
dtvil fellow, who enjoyed a fight better than 
anything else under the sun, unless it was a 
drink of whisky. Bergholtz, Johnson, Goodrich 
and Eablin now proceeded to evict Wardlaw. 
The latter saw them coming and locking the 
cabin door, stood in front with two revolvers 
to await the attack. Eablin picked up a fence 
rail, and, while the others were parleying with 
Wardlaw, he broke in the cabin door with a 
single blow. Seeing his bluff would not work, 
V.'ardlaw declared he did not wish to live among 
such lawless people, and he moved into a tent 
he had brought with him. A few days later 
he bought Jim Eablin's claim and moved upon 
it as before stated. 

Another episode of that first winter will 
help to illustrate life in our new town. Minard 
Mills- had been up and down the river with a 
pony and sled trading with the Indians. One 
day in February, 1853, he drove up to the 
levee at jMankato with a load of goods, on top 
of which in plain view was a five gallon keg 
of whisky. The Indians soon caught sight of 
the keg and began gathering around the sled. 
Several of the savages had a desperate craving 
for liquor and when inflamed by it were wholly 
unmanageable and dangerous. Johnson saw there 
was trouble brewing and after a few words with 
Mills seized the keg, which fortunately was 
nearly empty, and took it to his shanty and hid 
it under the counter. It would have been wiser 
to have emptied the liquor on the ground, but 
perhaps the whites deemed it too precious for 



that. The Indians soon came to Johnson's cabin 
and demanded the liquor. Being refused two of 
them sprang over the counter and seized the 
keg and carried it off in triumph. Noah Arm- 
strong, who was clerking for Johnson^ started to 
draw a knife, but was cautioned by Johnson to 
desist. Luckily there was not enough whisky 
to make any Indian drunk. 

The Indian chiefs came to town to complain 
about the whites letting their young men have 
liquor, which was contrary to law. It cost the 
Mankato traders ten dollars worth of goods to 
pacify the chiefs, so they would not make com- 
plaint to the government. 



On Februajy 14th, 1853, Congress ratified the 
important treaties of Traverse des Sioux and 
Mendota, whereby the Indian title to all lands 
in Blue Earth County and in all the state west 
of the Mississippi and south of St. Cloud and 
Morehead was extinguished. 

On March 5th, 1853, the County of Blue 
Earth was created by ah act of the Territorial 
Legislature, it embraced all of the State of 
Minnesota south of the Minnesota river, except 
the counties of Wabasha, Dakota, Goodhue, Eice, 
Scott, Pilmore and that portion of Le Sueur 
which lies east and north of Wi - Wi Creek op- 
posite St. Peter. 

Truly our county at birth was of goOdly size 
and fair to look upon. No land on earth more 
richly endowed in productive qualities. None 
more full of promise to the homeseeker. It 
may be well to give the political history of our 
county to this point. The first civilized nation 
to claim its soil was Prance, and we have seen 
how Le Sueur in 1700, by permission of the 
French government built Port Le Huillier in 
our county and prospected for copper. French 
traders also carried on a brisk trade in furs 
with the Indians of our county in those days of 
long ago. 

In 1763 the French at a secret treaty sold 
their old Louisiana Territory, to which our 
county belonged, to Spain. The matter was 
kept a secret for some time and Spain did not 
take possession until 1769. The Spanish domi- 
nation however, was very feeble and did not ef- 
fect the northern end of the territory in the 
least. It is not probable that a single Spaniard 
even saw the portion of the territory embraced 
in the present state of Minnesota. October 1st, 

1800, at another secret treaty Spain sold back to 
Prance her Louisiana Territory, and our county 
became a part of the dominion of Napoleon 
Bonaparte. It did not so remain but a short 
time, for Napoleon, fearing that the territory 
might fall a prey to Great Britain, on June 
30th, 1803, sold it to the United States. It 
continued under its old name of "Province of 
Louisiana" until March 26th, 1804, when by 
Act of Congress, the portion now embraced in 
the present State of Louisiana, was created into 
the Province of Orleans, and the vast remainder, 
of which our county was part, was designated 
"District of Louisiana" and attached to the Ter- 
ritory of Indiana for administrative purposes, 
with seat of government at Vincennes on the 
Wabash. On June 4th, 1813, the District of 
Louisiana was erected into the Territory of Mis- 
souri. We remained a part of Missouri until 
June 28th, 1834, when all the lands west of 
the Mississippi and north of the Missouri river 
became a part of the Territory of Michigan. 
Here we continued until April 10th, 1836, 
when the territory of Wisconsin was created, of 
wliich we were made part. Here we belonged 
until June 12th, 1838, when the Territory of 
Iowa was formed and we were included within 
its boundaries. Here we came very near finding 
our permanent home. At the convention which 
met October 17th; 1844, to form a State Con- 
stitution the proposed north boundary adopted 
for the New State was a straight line from the 
mouth of the Big Sioux Eiver to the mouth of 
the Blue Earth river and thence down the Min- 
nesota river to its mouth. This took in nearly 
all of Blue Earth County. 

Congress, however, was unwilling to allow 




Iowa so much territory^ as it wished to reserve 
enough to form another northern state. So 
thu bill for its admission was amended fixing 
vhe line between ranges 29 and 30 as its west 
b< undary and the Minnesota river as its north 
boundary. This put the whole of our county 
into Iowa, forming its northwest corner. The 
people of Iowa were much dissatisfied with this 
abridgment of their territory and the position 
of Des Moines, with reference to the long narrow 
strip proposed, was unfavorable for retention 
of the capitol. 

When therefore the amended bill came back 
to the people for ratification it was defeated by 
a small majority. A compromise was at last 
effected and Iowa finally admitted on March 
3rd, 1845, with its present boundaries. The 
land to the north and east of the Mississippi 
of which our county was part, was thus cut 
ofE from any government. 

On the admission of Wisconsin May 29th, 
1848, as a state, the portion of our state lying 
between the St. Croix and the Mississippi was 
also left in the same condition. The initial 
iiieeting, for organizing the two remnants thus 
severed, into a new territory, was held at the 
trading post of our old friend Henry Jackson, 
ai St. Paul in July, 1848, which was the first 
public meeting held in Minnesota. Pinally 
through the efl:orts of H. H. Sibley an act of 
Congress was passed on March 3rd, 1849, creat- 
ing the Territory of Minnesota. 

Thus after being outside of the pale of gov- 
ernment for four years to a day we were restored 
again to an organized state. The further changes 
in the political annals of our county, after its 
creation as a separate municipal body, will ap- 
pear more properly as we proceed with our 

The winter of 1852-3 was quite cold and 
tlie snow deep. The spring freshets conse- 
quently were high, and the Minnesota in tlie 
early part of April was over all its banks. The 
first boat for Mankato was the Greek Slave, 
■(vhich left St. Paul on the 4th day of April. 
She was a newly built side wheeler, with pow- 
erful boilers, a fine cabin, and well equipped for 
passengers and freight. Her captain and owner 

was Louis Robert, destined to become one of 
the most prominent river men in Minnesota. 
On this her first trip the Slave carried in addi- 
tion to a big load of freight, 150 passengers, 
many of whom were bound for Mankato, and 
the Blue Earth country, where on April 7th, 
they arrived. 

Another new boat to enter the Minnesota 
river trade this spring was the Clarion. She 
was a small boat of seventy-two and one-half tons 
burden, owned by Captain Samuel Humbertson. 
She at once began making trips to the Blue 
Earth country. Early in April, 1853, Edwin 
Perkins of St. Paul was appointed the first 
Eegister of Deeds of Blue Earth County, and 
on April 14th, he recorded his first deed in the 
new county. It seems, when appointed to the 
office, Perkins intended to locate immediately 
at Mankato City, a new town which Henry 
McKenty had just laid out on the stone quarry 
bench, as a rival to Mankato. The recordtug of 
the plat of this new townsite was one of Per- 
kins' first ofl^icial acts. 

Plenry McKenty was an eccentri.c character, 
with much of the typical western in his make- 
up, a mixture of energy, daring and bluster. 
Since purchasing his claim the previous sum- 
mer, he had been greatly bothered by claim 
jumpers, and had been obliged to buy out suc- 
cessively three of four different claimants, and 
]:is patience was completely exhausted. So when 
he came up on the first boat in the spring of 
1853, he was armed with two big revolvers and 
brought with him a coffin, with the avowed pur- 
pose of taking the next jumper back in it. As 
yet the government had made no survey of the 
ci/untry and there were no definite lines to go 
by, and much confusion resulted as to boundar- 
ies of the various claimants. To avoid any such 
difficulty as to his claim, McKenty had posts 
eight to ten feet high planted at its four cor- 
ners, with a number of posts almost as large 
put at intervals to mark the lines. Mr. Mc- 
Kenty being in the real estate business at St. 
Paul and a great hustler, worked up quite an 
interest in his townsite, and the sale of lots in 
Mankato City during the spring and summer of 
1853 was vei-y brisk. About May, Edwin Howe 



opened a hotel there, which he called the "Man- 
kato City Hotel." It was a fair sized log house 
but quite bare of furniture. Each guest as a 
rule had to provide his own bed and bedding. 
There were no partitions. The men slept in the 
attic and the woman down stairs. The first 
blacksmith shop in ilankato or even Blue Earth 
County, was started by Josiah Keene in "j\Ic- 
Kenty's Town," as ilankato City was then gen- 
erally called. 

A native of Maine, young Keene had arrived 
at the new townsite almost at its birth. He was 
very fond of music and spent about as much 
time with his violin as with his anvil, for cus- 
tomers were not numerous. 

The original townsite of Jlankato in the 
meantime had been growing. On Itarch 14th, 
1853, Minard Mills had brought his wife (after- 
wards Mrs. Lullsdorff) to the new town and es- 
tablished there his home. He began prepara- 
tions at once for the erection of a frame ware- 
house at the south end of the levee, just a few 
feet south of where tlie city hall now stands. 
The river at that time was situated about the 
rear of that building. Mr. Mills had the frame 
of his warehouse up and the structure ready for 
shingling, when on April IGth, James Hanna 
and George Maxfield with three or four of their 
oldest sons arrived. Both had very large fami- 
lies of sons and daughters, nearly all full grown, 
tv,'enty-six souls in both families, ilessrs. Hanna 
and Maxfield were perplexed to find immediate 
shelter for their large households, the balance 
of whom were waiting at St. Paul. ]\rr. Hanna, 
therefore, bought the warehouse of Mills, and 
he and Maxfield hastily completed it, and occu- 
pied it with their families. 

Two main events in the history of our state 
in 1853 were the removal of the Sioux to their 
aLcneies and the establishment of Fort Eidgely, 
about forty miles above Mankato, on the Min- 
nesota. All the material and supplies required 
for the fort and about half of the garrison had 
to be transported by boats up the Jlinnesota. 
I^he West Newton secured the contract for car- 
rying the troops and their baggage, and about 
the last of April she, together with the Tiger 
and Clarion, each having two or three barges 

in tow loaded with lumber, passed by Maukato 
on their way to the new fort. A letter written 
under 'date of April 29th, 1853, on board the 
West Newton gives many interesting glimpses 
of the country and its people. Among other 
things it tells of the Indians gathering from the 
eugar bushes into Traverse des Sioux and Man- 
kato, many of them very sick from gorging 
themselves on maple sugar; it speaks of meet- 
ing at Traverse, George McLeod, who had just 
ai rived from Lac qui Parle in a huge canoe 
twenty-four feet long by forty-four inches wide, 
made from a single cottonwood tree, in which 
he had brought forty bushels of potatoes, be- 
sides a crew of five men; Kasota then was in 
Blue Earth County, and our correspondent states 
tljat J. W. Babcock had just started his new 
saw mill on Tchankaska (AVood tying) creek, 
two weeks before. It had an overshot water 
vi'heel for power, a muley saw, and its capacity 
was about 8,000 feet of lumber per day. Ka- 
sota townsite was then full of great expectations. 
A railroad from Dubuque was headed straight 
for the town and was sure to reach it by next 
summer. There was no other place where a 
railroad could conveniently cross the Minnesota 
river. There was no question, but here was 
,t;(iing to be the second largest city in the Min- 
nesota valley. Second of course to Traverse 
des Sioux, which was then generally supposed 
to have the lead for the first place. Our cor- 
respondent seemed to have been carried away 
with such delusions until he reached jMankato 
City. But ^\'hen ilcKenty and his boomers had 
showed him the prospects of the city whose 
foundations were literally on the rock, the 
scales fell from his eyes, and he was completely 
dazzled by its future magnificence. 

On May 4th, the Mankato Townsite company 
cnncelled the contract they had made the pre- 
vious November with Lewis F. Windslow, to 
build the Mankato House, and Samuel Leech 
n-as appointed to superintend its construction. 
During the winter, Minard Mills, who had a 
subcontract from Windslow, had the sills and 
most of the frame hewed from the native forest 
and hauled on the gnmnd. General Ijcech now 
had most of the mill work for the building done 



at^ St. Paul and shipped same with the pine 
lumber necessary and some workmen by boat to 
Mankato. The building was raised on July 
Gth, and enclosed and doors and windows hung 
that season and the stairway built. It was a 
two story frame thirty-two feet by twenty-four 
feet with a one story- wing sixteen feet by 
twenty-four feet, and stood where the present 
Xational Citizens bank block stands on corner 
of Front and Hickory streets. 

It was a very pretentious building in its day, 
and for many years was the center of much of 
the public activities of both city and county. 

The spring and summer of 1853 were ex- 
ceptionally wet and cold. On May 12th there 
was a big snow storm, which covered the ground 
six to eight inches in depth, and sundogs were 

On May 27th, Henry Jackson located in Man- 
kato with his family, occupying their new log 
house on lot 5 block 14. About the same time 
the Hanna and Maxfield families arrived and 
took up their abode in the new frame structure 
at the south end of the levee. These two fam- 
ilies had been religiously trained in their Ohio 
home and about June 3rd, 1853, Mr. Ilanna 
started a Sunday school at his home, the con- 
duct of which devolved mostly on his energetic 
daughter, Sarah J. Hanna, afterwards Mrs. J. 
Q. A. Marsh. This was the first service of a 
religious character in the county. The Sunday 
school was kept up thereafter with fair regular- 
ity and was the precursor of the present Pres- 
byterian Sunday school of Mankato. Of late 
years there has been some diversity of opinion 
a-- to who preached the first sermon. "When the 
question was asked in a lyceum at Mankato in 
1857, it was answered without a dissenting voice 
that a Rev. Brown, a Presbyterian preacher 
from Cleveland, Ohio, was the man. This ver- 
dict, rendered at a time when people ought 
to have known the fact, has generally been ac- 
cepted by a majority of the old settlers. The 
main doubt arises from the fact now known, 
that a Rev. Brown, a Presbyterian minister from 
Cleveland, Ohio, a returned missionary, who 
came to Minnesota in quest of health, visited 
Mankato and preached at Mr. Hanna's house, 

but the date was October 16th, 1853, and we 
also know that two sermons at least had been 
preached before that date. Mrs. John Q. A. 
Marsh, who as teacher in the Sunday school 
and leader in the choir, was present and had a 
part in all the religious meetings of that year 
in the Mankato settlement, thought that Rev. 
Brown paid Mankato two visits, one in the spring 
and the other in October, or that the Rev. Brown 
who came in the spring was a brother of the 
Rev. Brown who arrived in October. In the 
summer of 1853, Rev. Chauncey Hobert was 
commissioned by the M. E. Church to visit 
the various towns of the Minnesota valley and 
secure building sites for M. E. chapelg. In 
his note book under date of July 3rd, 1853, he 
tells of visiting Mankato and preaching there at 
Mr. Hanna's house, the first sermon heard in 
the new town. In his memoirs Rev. Julius S. 
Webber, a Baptist minister, states that he vis- 
ited Mankato on September 25th, 1853, and 
preached the first sermon there at Mr. Hanna's 
home. Mrs. 0. Pitcher, a daughter of T. D. 
Warren, is very positive that Rev. Norris Hobert 
preached the first sermon on June 12th, 1853. 
It is quite probable that Mrs. Pitcher's memory 
has got the two Hoberts mixed, and that her 
recollection relates to the visit of Rev. Chauncey 
Hobert referred to above. 

About the first of June of this year Thomas 
D. Warren and George Van Brunt arrived at 
jMankato, followed by their families a few days 
later. They ' located on seven forties of land 
claimed by the old townsite company, being the 
land now covered by the Warren and Van Brunt 
Additions to Mankato. Henry Jackson brought 
suit, against Warren for jumping his land be- 
fore Squire Mills. This was probably the first 
law suit in Blue Earth County. The action was 
never pressed, as there were no lawyers to 
carry it on, and it soon was abandoned. 

On June 11th, 1853, the first marriage in 
Blue Earth County was solemnized before Squire 
Jiills at Mankato, the contracting parties being 
Jacob Guenther and Christiana M. Wischmeier. 
The bride came to Mankato with Mr. and Mrs. 
Joseph Fronert from Milwaukee, where she and 
the groom first met. 



The only other marriage recorded in the coun- 
ty for this year was that of Hazen Moores 
to Mrs. Ellen Larkin, which occurred at Eed 
Wood on November 22nd, 1853, and at which 
the noted Sioux missionary, Dr. Thomas S. Wil- 
liamson officiated. Eed Wood then belonged to 
our county as we have seen. 

This Hazen Moores was a famous character 
whose adventurous life was spent among the 
Indians and traders of the Minnesota valley 
during the first half of the last century. 

The Minnesota continued navigable during the 
whole summer of 1853 and several boats made 
regular trips to Mankato. On her trip of June 
29th and again on July 6th, the Clarion left 
St. Paul with 150 passengers on board each time. 
The other boats engaged in the same trade this 
year were the Tiger, Black Hawk, Greek Slave, 
West Newton, Humbolt, lola and Shenandoah. 
In all there were forty-nine arrivals from the 
Minnesota at the port of St. Paul this year. 
01' the multitude of homeseekers, who thronged 
these boats, or who on foot or by team followed 
tlie rough Indian trails, Mankato and the Blue 
Earth country received their share. With the 
Warren and Van Brunt families came Marshall 
T. Comstock and James Jlcilurtrie. In June 
Clements Kron and Hoxie Eathburn arrived with 
their families. About the same time came Dr. 
Jeffrey T. Adams, the first physician to locate 
in Blue Earth County. He was followed July 
14th, by the first lawyer, J. McMahon Holland, 
who brought in his pocket a commission from 
the Governor appointing him the first County 
Attorney. Among many other arrivals of 1853, 
vc have not yet mentioned were : Dr. James 
W. Heath, Michael Kaufman, Henry J. Sontag, 
John Brules, George W. Lay, Henry Goodrich, 
Blassius Yobst, Michael Syler, John Schroeder, 
James M. Ayers, George W. Cummings, George 
II. Marsh, Jared Lewis, Henry Goodrich, John 
C. Taylor, John Henderson, Basil Moreland, 0. 
C. Eedfield, Benj. Fritz, Bernhard Bruggernian,- 
Joseph Frounert, Levi Kotthoff, Martin ]\Iettler, 
John Fresholtz, Byron W. Comstock, B. W. 
Stannard, James Talmadge, Max Freudle, Chris- 
tian Eoos, Uriah S. Karmany and John Fres- 

The Legislative Act creating the County of 
Blue Earth authorized the Governor to ap- 
pciint the first officers. We have already noted 
the appointment of Eegister of Deeds and Coun- 
ty Attorney. Edwin Perkins after serving two 
months concluded not to move to Blue Earth 
County and about June 1st, 1853, P. K. John- 
son was appointed Eegister in his place, and 
the office removed from St. Paul to Jlr. John- 
son's home in Mankato. 

Early in July a school was started at Man- 
kato with twenty-four scholars, taught by ]Miss 
Sarah J. Hanna (the late Mrs. John Q. A. 
Marsh.) It was held in a room built as a 
wing to the frame warehouse, which Mr. Hanna 
had finished as a dwelling, and which wing T. 
D. Warren had occupied for a short time as a 
store. During the same month Captain Eeno 
v/ith a corps of United States engineers surveyed 
through the county a military road, which Con- 
gress had ordered to be laid out and constructed 
between Mendota and the mouth of the Big 
Sioux river. The survey was begun at the Big 
Sioiix end and followed in the main the In- 
dian trail. It entered Blue Earth County near 
its southwestern corner, east of Perch Lake, and 
traversing Pleasant Mound and Ceresco in a 
nrrtherly direction it passed to the west side 
of Perch Creek near the Thurston farm and 
crossing the Watonwan above the mouth of that 
creek near the present bridge and thence keep- 
ing in the general direction of the North Bluffs 
of the Watonwan and west bluffs of the Blue 
Earth it continued in a northeasterly course 
t]:rough Garden City and South Bend Town- 
sliips, following quite closely the present Garden 
City and Mankato road. The first survey from 
Garden City to Mankato followed the old In- 
dian trail which crossed the Blue Earth near the 
Eapidan Mill and the Le Sueur near its mouth 
and thence to Mankato by the Eed Jacket val- 
ley, but this route was so rough that it was 
abandoned, and the way by Welsh Lane, Pigeon 
Hill and Village of South Bend adopted instead. 
From i^Iankato the survey followed practically 
the present highway to Kasota and thence by 
what was known as the Dodd road through the 
Big Woods. The laying out of this military 


road was quite an event in the history of the cept three counties in the Eed river country, 

coimty, because it made communication with St. which comprised the Third District. This put 

Paul much easier, and by bridging the Blue Blue Earth in the Second Judicial District, over 

Earth made the country to the west more ac- which Judge Cooper of the Supreme Court was 

cessible. appointed to preside. Eirst term for Blue Earth 

In July the Governor appointed James Hanna County was appointed for the first Monday in 

and John S. Hinckley of Mankato and Joseph October of that ■ year, and annually thereafter. 

W. Babcock of Kasota ■ as the First Board of Accordingly on October 3rd, 1853, the first term 

County Commissioners. This board first met on of the District Court ever held in Blue Earth 

August 6th, 1853, at the house of P. K. John- County convened at the Mankato House. As 

son in block 14 of Mankato and organized by there was no business to transact, it adjourned 

electing James Hanna chairman, and P. K. the same day. 

Johnson, Clerk. They also divided the county On August 37th, was held the first political 
into two election precincts, all south of claim caucus or convention in the county. It convened 
of James Eablin being designated, "Mankato at Mankato for the purpose of nominating can- 
precinct," and all north, "Babcock's Mill pre- didates for county ofl'ices. Minard Mills was 
cinct," with place of election for last precinct made chairman and J. McMahon Holland see- 
in J. W. Babcock's house and for the former retary. Dr. P. P. Humphrey was the nominee 
pi-ecinct, the New Hotel. The judges of election for Judge of Probate, J. McMahon Holland for 
for Mankato precinct were: Henry Jackson, District Attorney, Basil Moreland for Sheriff, 
Edwin Howe and Jacob Guenther; and for Bab- I*. K. Johnson for Eegister of Deeds, Hiram 
cock's Mill: Eeuben Butters, C. C. Mack and Puller for Treasurer, and Ephraim Cole, Jos- 
Dr. P. P. Humphrey. The first grand and petit eph W. Babcock and Jacob Guenther for County 
jury for the county were also, drawn at this Commissioners. On September ISth, a special 
session, and comprised the following persons: meeting of the County Commissioners convened 
Grand juroi-s: Lewis P. Windslow, P. K. John- at P. K. Johnson's house. At this meeting 
son, Evans Goodrich, Philip Krummel, Minard Basil Moreland was appointed the first County 
Mills, Edwin Howe,- Josiah Keene, James Eablin, Treasurer and Thomas D. Warren was made 
William Wood, Eobert Wardlaw, George C. Justice of the Peace. At the third meeting of 
C'lapp, John Henderson, Hiram Puller, Thomas the Board held October 3rd, the salary of J. 
Lemaraux, Joseph Prounert, John B. Harrison, McMahon Holland as County Attorney was fixed 
Jared Lewis, Dr. P. P. Humphrey, C. C. Mack, at $100.00 per annum. James Eablin and 
Eeuben Butters, James Lindsley, Charles Pettis, Jared Lewis were also appointed Judges of 
John C. Durham and Philip Snider. Petit Election for Babcock precinct instead of Mack 
Jurors: George M. Van Brunt, Thos. D. War- and Humphrey. On October 11th occurred the 
ren, Marshall T. Comstock, M. Gruntry, Eph- first election held in the county at which Man- 
raim Cole, George Maxfield, Basil Moreland, precinct cast twenty-one votes, and Kasota 
Henry Goodrich, Clements Kron, Michael Lea- precinct ten votes, making thirty-one votes in 
land, Jeffrey T. Adams,' I. S. Lyons, M. H. all in the county. The county officers elected 
Bergholtz, John ScliToeder, John (the mason), at this first election were: Sheriff, Basil More- 
Jacob Guenther, Peter Lano, Charles C. Pettis, land ; Treasurer, Hiram Puller ; Eegister of 
Charles Kirtmacher, Thos. Sparhawk, William Deeds, P. K. Johnson; Judge of Probate, Min- 
Ehodes, and John Gerheim. ai'd Mills; District Attorney, Henry Jackson; 

By an act approved March 5th, 1853, the Coroner, Philip Krummel; Surveyor, Daniel L. 
Legislature divided the territory into Judicial Turpin; County Commissioners, Ephraim Cole, 
Districts. All counties east of the Mississippi Joseph W. Babcock and Jacob Guenther; As- 
formed the First District, and all west of that sessor, Joseph Prounert. One freak of this first 
river were included in the Second District, ex- election was the selection of Henry Jackson (who 




did not pretend to know anything about law) as 
District Attorney by 22 votes to 3 votes for J. 
McMahon Holland, the only lawyer in the 
county. Holland -was so disgusted with the re- 
sult that he soon quit the country. Most of the 
county officers elected were democrats and yet 
party politics does not seem to have cut much 
figure. On the vote for Delegate to Congress, 
H. M. Eice, then democratic nominee, received 
seven votes to eleven for Alexander WilMn, the 
Whig nominee, in Mankato precinct; while 
Kasota gave nine votes to Eice and one for 

In the fall of 1853 James Hanna erected a 
frame dwelling on lot 5 block 13 of Mankato, 
just in the rear of where now stands the First 
National Bank building. Until the opening 
of the Mankato House, Mr. Hanna's home be- 
came the usual stopping place at Mankato for 
strangers other than Germans, while the latter 
generally made the log cabin of Clements Kron 
their hostelry. In the same fall Basil Moreland 
put up a frame building on lot 2 block 6 of 
Mankato. It had its side to Front street and 
was partitioned into two parts. The northerly 
half was used for church, lyceum, Sunday and 
day school, and public purposes generally, while 
the southerly half generally served as a dwell- 

Under date of November 23nd, 18.53, P. K. 
Johnson writes to a St. Paul paper: "Mankato 
has about 20 families and the precinct about 100 
voters. There are about twenty buildings in 
the village, among them is a good hotel 50x30 
with wing. The village has a school with 24 
jrapils, taught by Miss Sarah J. Hanna. Tt also 
has: one minister (old school Presbyterian), 
two lawyers, one saddler, two tailors, one mill- 
wright, two stores, two hotels. Four miles away 
on the Le Sueur a saw mill has been nearly 
completed, owned by George Van Brunt. There 
are carpenters, masons, plasterers, etc., here. A 
new town called South Bend has been laid out 
across the Blue Earth, and eight miles further 
is Eureka, where there is a good saw mill." 
The Eureka referred to was a paper townsite 
which Hiram Caywood had laid out just across 
the river from the present townsit« of Judson, 

but South Bend belongs to our county and its 

At La Crosse, Wis., there resided in 1853 a 
prominent Welshman named David C. Evans. 
In the spring of that year, when in the real 
e&tate office of Colonel T. B. Stoddard, his at- 
tention was called to the great bend of the Min- 
nesota as a strategic commercial point and he 
concluded to visit it. On the 26th of July Mr. 
Evans started to spy the country. On the way 
he fell in with General Lyman Matthews, who 
had come from the blue grass region of Ken- 
tucky. They spent a day at St. Paul, then a 
village of a few shanties, and went to see the 
great falls of St. Anthony, and found upon the 
land now occupied by the city of Minneapolis 
only a single white man, Colonel John H. Stev- 
ens, who had built a squatters shanty close to 
the falls, but was in daily apprehension of being 
driven off by the military at Fort Snelling, as 
a trespasser. At St. Paul Evans and Matthews 
met Captain Samuel Humbertson. (No native 
American, having any opinion of himself, came 
west in those anti-bellum days, whose rank was 
less than "captain." Our captain's title was 
not derived from any military record, however, 
but from the fact that he owned and operated 
the boat "Clarion," which did such valiant ser- 
vice upon the Minnesota in those early days.) 
On his trips to Fort Eidgely the captain had 
discovered an excellent boat landing at the 
mouth of a dry ravine, through which ages 
ago, the Blue Earth had found its way into 
the Minnesota, but which now was a mile above 
the mouth of that stream. So impressed was he 
^s'ith the advantages of the spot as a townsite 
that on his last trip he had left there a pile of 
boards for a shanty, with his nephew, Thomas 
Lameraux, in charge, while he got up a town- 
site company at St. Paul. His enthusiasm soon 
induced Evans and Matthews to Join the en- 
terprise, and up the Minnesota they all went in 
the Clarion. It was the 1st day of August 
when they reached 'TBabcock's Landing," near 
Kasota and the river was getting low, so they 
had to tie up the boat there and proceed the 
rest of the way on foot. Besides our two friends 
and the captain, the company comprised Alden 



Bryant, clerk of the Clarion and John Mann, 
it? engineer. They found Tom Lemeraux and 
the pile of boards holding possession of the 
coveted site. On the bench above they also 
found I. S. Lyon and family, who had arrived 
from Iowa a day or two before in a covered wagon, 
or "Prairie Schooner" as the vehicle was called 
by the pioneers. Lyon was at iirst taken into 
the townsite company, making the sixth member, 
each having an equal share. At the suggestion 
of Mr. Evans the prospective city was called 
"South Bend" from its position at the great 
bend of the river. 

On Saturday, August 6th, 1853, was built for 
Mr. Lyon on the table land east of the village 
site, the iirst log cabin. Mr. Lyon brought with 
him the first cow west of the Blue Earth and 
on this day was done the first churning, the be- 
ginning of the great dairy industry of today. 
On the 7th day of August most of our townsite 
proprietors footed it back to the Clarion, and 
thence returned to St. Paul and their various 
homes, to get ready to move at once to the new 
town. The death of his father at Palmyra, 
Ohio, delayed Mr. Evans several weeks in his 
return. He, however, sent Owen Herbert, to 
South Bend in August to look after his interests 
while he followed in ISTovember. On the 33nd 
of the same month Mr. Evans went to St. Paul 
after D. T. Turpin, a civil engineer, to survey 
and plat the new townsite, which survey was 
completed the 2nd of December. The weather 
had been exceedingly pleasant all this fall, and 
on the last day of the survey there was no. 
frost in the ground. Even on Christmas day, 
when a party of Mankato people came up to 
visit South Bend, the ice on the Blue Earth 
was not strong enough to cross. 

By the first of January, 1854, however, there 
was a change in the weather program, and for 
six weeks a very cold spell was experienced. 
About this time the provisions at South Bend 
got very low, and none to be had nearer than 
St. Paul, one hundred miles away. Mr. Evans 
had bought a span of horses of Captain Hum- 
bertson, which, by the way, were the first, and 
for two years the only, horses west of the 
Blue Earth. It, therefore, devolved upon Mr. 

Evans to take his horses and sleigh after the 
needed supplies. With deep snow on the ground, 
drifted in places to, mountain heaps, with the 
mercury down to the twenties, and the danger 
of being" caught in a blizzard without a road or 
human habitation, the journey was anything but 
desirable. It took Mr. Evans eleven days to 
make the trip, and the hardships attending it 
were the severest he experienced in all his life. 
On the evening of January 34th, he was over- 
taken by a terrible storm, far away from any 
house, and soon lost the road. The deep snow, 
the blinding storm, and the bitter cold gave no 
hope of escape. He could not see a rod away. 
He had no idea of the points of the compass, 
night was approaching, the howling blizzard 
seemed to be closing in on its prey. Unhitch- 
ing his team he made the best shelter possible 
for them behind the sleigh, and put before them 
all the fodder he had. "With a few sticks of 
wood he managed to kindle a small fire, and sat 
down beside it not expecting to see the morrow. 
He soon fell into a stupor, from which he awoke 
to find his fur cap laying on a few coals before 
him, apparently intact, but on touching it with 
his hand it fell to ashes. This aroused him 
from his lethargy, and the storm having fortu- 
nately abated, he took courage, and with head 
tied up in some flannel shirts he had bought 
at St. Paul, he eventually managed to reach 
Shakopee, where he and his team were hospi- 
tably cared for at the hostelry of the old pioneer, 
Joe Reynolds. The next morning Mr. Evans 
resumed his journey and after three or four 
more days of struggling with snow drifts, he 
finally reached the famine stricken city at the 
bend. The winter, however, was very short. 
Towards the last of February the weather grew 
very warm, and a thunder storm on March 1st, 
took away all the snow and broke up all the 
rivers. After this so mild was the temperature 
that Mr. Evans had no need to shelter his 
horses, but left them out to pasture day and 
night. By the 4th of April the sndces and 
mosquitoes were out. 

Before we pass to the events of the spring of 
1854, let us return to the settlement east of the 
Blue Earth, About December 15th, 1853, the 



postoffice of Mankato was created, and P. K. 
Johnson appointed its first postmaster. Soon 
thereafter the contract for carrying the mail 
from St. Paul to Mankato once a week was left 
to George H. Marsh to hegin July 1, 1854. 
Until that date the mails came when the boats 
ran, or when some one happened to call for 

About December 30th, 1853, Theron Par- 
sons and son, L. P. Parsons, arrived at Man- 
kato, having come by team all the way from 
Illinois. At Hastings they stopped at a hotel 
kept by Eev. Jonathan Morris, a noted pioneer 
Campbellite preacher, who afterwards founded 
Morristown, Eice County, Minnesota. Eev. Mor- 
ris accompanied Mr. Parsons on a visit to Man- 
kato, and on January 1st, preached there a 
sermon long remembered by the pioneers. Mr. 
Parsons purchased the Chris Eoss claim, a 
portion of which was afterwards laid out as 
"Parsons Addition to Mankato," and moved to 
his new home in April, 1854, with his family. 

The Indians who made their home about the 
mouth of the Blue Earth were divided into two 
bands. One under the chieftainship of Sin- 
tomnidutah, and the other under a half breed, 
called "Frenchman." The latter was married 
to a sister of the other chief, but they did not 
live very happily together. Late in the fall of 
1853, Frenchman accused his wife of being un- 
faithful to him. Her friends claimed he did 
tliis for an excuse to marry a younger squaw. 
According to the Indian law the punishment for 
adultery was to cut oflE the end of the nose, and 
Frenchman and his followers were in favor of 
law enforcement in this case. The squaw fled 
to her brother for protection. His village then 
stood on the table land in West Mankato. 
Frenchman and his warriors pursued her thither, 
and demanded that she be delivered up to them. 
This was refused and the Frenchman's band fired 
into the teepees, and a battle was precipitated. 
Most of Sintomnidutah's warriors happened to 
be away on a hunt and he was not able to cope 
with his opponent. In the fight one of his 
warriors was killed and another dangerously 
Mounded. As it was in the dusk of evening he 
and his sister managed to escape into the brush 

and fled to a cave beside Minneopa Falls, which 
ever after bore the name of "Sintomnidutah's 
Cave." Here they kept concealed for two or 
three days until the chiefs warriors returned 
from the hunt. He then sallied forth at the 
head of his warriors to avenge his sister's wrongs 
and his own, and chief Frenchman was obliged 
to flee to the whites at Mankato for protection, 
where he stayed for some time, until a truce 
was arranged between the two bands. The 
wounded Indian from Sintomnidutah's band 
was also taken at once to the whites at Mankato 
for medical aid, and he stayed with Drs. Heath 
and Adams all winter, being about the only 
patient the doctors had, and was healed of his 

January 32, 1854, occurred the first meeting 
of the new Board of County Commissioners, the 
first board elected by the -people. Ephraim 
Cole was chairman and J. W. Babcock and 
Jacob Guenther were the other members. At 
this meeting a .resolution was passed making 
Mankato the county seat. 

During this month the small Mankato set- 
tlement had a narrow escape from an Indian 
m^assacre. In the autumn the chief Sintomni- 
outah had purchased twenty-five dollars worth of 
goods of T. D. Warren, and hypothecated his 
crop of wild rice for the payment, which was to 
be made from the first annuity money. This 
money, however, was spent for something else, 
and when winter brought hunger to his wigwam, 
the chief began calling for his rice. Warren in- 
formed him he could get it as soon as he paid 
the debt and not before. The chief said he 
had no money, and, therefore, could not pay, 
but that his squaw and papoose were starving, 
and so must have the rice. The chief carried 
a fine rifle, which had the reputation among the 
Indians of always hitting whatever it was aimed 
at, and Warren proposed to give him the rice 
and five dollars to boot for the gun. Sintomni- 
dutah agreed to this, but when he and his brother 
and their squaws came that evening to get the 
rice, they pretended to have forgotten the rifle, 
and said they would bring it next morning. 
Warren was too shrewd for such a trick, and in- 
sisted they could not have the rice until the 



gun was brought. Sintomnidutah was a tall, 
well proportioned Indian, with head and fea- 
tures resembling those of Henry Clay. Be- 
sides being quick witted he had great reputation 
for strength and bravery, and was an ugly an- 
tagonist in a fray. On the supper table lay a 
Itng bladed knife. Seizing it like a flash, the 
chief brandished it over his head and declared 
h' would have his rice, whether pale face was 
willing or not, and started to climb into the 
attic where it was stored. Warren was a large, 
athletic man, who knew no fear. Instantly he 
grabbed the chief by both wrists, and shaking 
the knife out of his hand, shoved him out 
through the door with a parting kick. The 
Indians at once took their departure and noth- 
ing more was heard of them for several days, 
when Tom Lemeraux, who was accustomed to 
visit the Indians, came to Warren's cabin one 
night with the intelligence that he had just been 
to the Indian village; that the warriors were 
holding a war dance and the squaws had warned 
him away, saying that the braves were very ugly 
towards the whites and had determined to kill 
them all in the morning. Warren simply laugh- 
ed at Tom's story. Next day about nine o'clock 
in the forenoon, however, the people of Mankato 
were surprised and startled to see some forty 
Indians, all armed and decked in war paint and 
feathers, march up Front street in single file. 
The settlers hurried from their cabins to inquire 
the meaning of this unwonted savage demonstra- 
tion. The school children saw the strange pro- 
cession as it passed the school room in the 
Moreland building, and followed with childish 
curiosity. Straight to Warren cabin, which 
stood near Dr. Harrington's present residence, 
grimly marched the line of warriors. Warren 
and a young man, named George Oummings, 
were chopping firewood by the door when the 
Iiidians approached. Cummings dodged into the 
house and he and Mrs. Warren seized a couple 
of guns. Warren faced the foe like a lion and 
demanded the why of their coming. The laconic 
word "rice" was the only answer as the braves 
formed in two lines, one on each side of the 
path leading to the door. Not seeing the chief 
at once, Warren demanded where he was. Down 

at the further end of the two lines Sintomni- 
dutah stepped out into the path in all his regalia 
of war. Instantly Warren seized a large sled 
stake, and, marching straight down the path 
between the two lines of armed savages, he 
faced the chief and demanded the gun. Sin- 
tomnidutah eyed his antagonist keenly for a 
moment, then turning the barrel of his gun up- 
side down he emptied the contents into the 
palm of his hand, and showing Warren the half 
dozen ugly slugs, which had formed the charge, 
he said, "White man, these were intended for 
you, but your heart is brave." So saying he 
replaced the charge and fired it into the air 
and handed the gun to Warren. Warren's cour- 
age was all that saved him and the other set- 
tlers of Mankato that day. Had he shown the 
slightest fear the massacre planned would have 
taken place. The Indians always reverenced 
courage as something supernatural, and a true 
ejhibition of it seldom failed to call forth their 
respect. Some twenty or more settlers had now 
gathered, most of them fairly well armed and a 
determined lot of men. So if the Indians had 
begun the fight, it would not have been wholly 
a one sided affair. Warren paid the chief at 
once the five dollars, and hitching his oxen, 
hauled the rice down to his lodge, and peace 
and good will prevailed once more. 

On February 25th, 1854, Rev. James Thom- 
son, a Presbyterian minister, arrived, having 
come all the way from Wabash, Indiana, on 
horseback. He was the first minister to locate 
in the county, and the next day being Sunday, 
he preached his first sermon at the little room 
in the Moreland building, where Miss Hanna 
had her school and where the Sunday school 
was kept. After the sermon Rev. Thomson had 
all who were members of the Presbyterian church 
rise and make a sort of church covenant to- 
gether. There were seven persons who arose as 
follows: Mr. and Mrs. James Hanna and two 
of their children, Mrs. George Maxfield and Mr. 
and Mrs. George Clapp, who lived on a claim 
in Kasota township, and whom Eev. Thomson 
had met on the road the day before and invited 
to the meeting. 

"Father Thomspu," m be was generally 



called, came of a distinguished family of preach- 
ers, educators, and authors. His father and 
three of his brothers were ministers, two broth- 
ers were professors in Wabash College, and one 
brother was the famous Dr. William M. Thom- 
son, the author of "The Land and the Book." 
Father Thomson had organized the first Pres- 
byterian church at CrawfordsvUle, Indiana, and 
had taken the most active lead in the founding 
of Wabash College. His whole life was domi- 
nated by one ambition to found a great religious 
college in the west. Wabash College did not 
satisfy him, and hence he started for the Blue 
Earth country in Minnesota, haviag a great 
scheme on his mind. This was to find a town- 
ship of the choicest farm land and purchase it 
entire from the government, then get up a col- 
ony of select Presbyterian people, to whom the 
lands were to be sold at a fair profit, this profit 
to be the endowment of the school. Thus a 
financial and moral support would be afforded 
the young institution, which would insure its 
success. So reasoned Father Thomson and as 
a precedent he pointed to Galesburg College 
in Illinois. That first Saturday night at Mr. 
Hanna's house he explained his mission to Mr. 
Hanna and Major Murphy, then superintendent 
of the Sioux Indians in Minnesota, who hap- 
pened to be stopping there over night. Mr. Han- 
na thought that the best land had already been 
taken, for in those days prairie land away from 
the timber was considered uninhabitable. The 
Major suggested a still more fatal objection to 
the plan, which the reverend gentleman had 
not thought of, namely: That the government 
was not selling land any more in large tracts, 
that the only way in which land could be se- 
cured at that time was under the "Pre-emption 
Act," which did not permit more than 160 acres 
to be sold to one person. Though greatly dis- 
appointed in not getting his township of land 
and being able to carry out his original plan. 
Father Thomson did not abandon his dream of 
founding a great college at the big bend of the 
Minnesota and he concluded to locate at Mankato. 
Mr. Hanna assured him that small tracts of 
land, suitable for a college, could be found and 
showed him a lithographed map of Mankato, 

on which a big college building was already 
pictured. The Major showed him a big lump 
of excellent coal, which someone had just found 
that afternoon upon the Blue Earth, and spent 
half the evening dilating upon the importance 
of the find, and the discovery was heralded iu 
the state papers. It was afterwards proven that 
the coal had been taken from Josiah Keene'a 
blacksmith shop and deposited where found, by 
some wag. 

February 27th Rev. M. N. Adams, then col- 
porteur of the American Bible Society, and 
pastor of the Presbyterian church at Traverse 
des Sioux, held at Mankato the first meeting 
in the interest of the Bible cause. Father 
Thomson had met him at Traverse des Sioux 
the previous Saturday and arranged for the 
meeting. Rev. Thomson in a few days bought 
the claim of Evans and Henry Goodrich, where 
Dukes Addition is now located, for $800.00 and 
sent for his family who arrived the foUowiag 

On April 3rd, 1854, the County Commission- 
ero organized the county into two school dis- 
tricts: District No. 1 to comprise the voting 
precinct of Mankato and District No. 3 the 
precinct of Kasota. The excellent stage of water 
maintained ia the Minnesota river during 1853 
had greatly encouraged steamboat men. Captain 
Humbertson during the winter disposed of his 
"Clarion," and had built in its stead a much 
lurger and finer boat, which he called the "Min- 
nesota Belle." On the third of May the cap- 
tain started up the Minnesota with his new 
boat. On board also were Lewis Branson, 
Henry Shaubut, John Barnard, Luther Bar- 
rett and many others destined for the Blue 
Earth country. The little freshet caused by the 
melting snow had occurred early in March and 
there had been no spring rains. On reaching 
the rapids near Carver, on the fourth of May, 
the Belle got stuck on the rock and every effort 
to get her over it proved futile. The captain 
was so disgusted with his failure that he never 
attempted to navigate the Minnesota again. Most 
of the passengers managed to reach their des- 
tination by team or on foot, but aU of those 
bound for South Bend located elsewhere except 



Matthew Thomson. Lewis Branson, a lawyer 
from Indiana, Henry Shaubut, Adam Froendle 
and a number of others settled at Mankato. In 
a few days after his arrivel Henry Shaubut pur- 
chased from the Mankato Townsite company, 
tlirough General. Leech, the Mankato House. 
ll had cost the company about $3,500.00 but 
Mr. Shaubut got it for $1,200.00. He had the 
lower story plastered and completed during the 
summer, and the wing part was occupied by 
Eevw Thomson and his family until the fol- 
lowing spring, when Mr. Shaubut brought his 
family to Mankato and took possession of the 
, building. 

Along about the middle of May there was 
some rain, which raised the river sufficiently, 
so the steamer "Globe" was able to reach Man- 
koto, on May 30th. She was the first boat that 
seasouj and about the last, for the water in the 
river soon fell again. Eight glad were the 
people -at Mankato to see the boat, for their 
provisions were about exhausted and nearly all 
the inhabitants had been living on fish alone 
for weeks. 

Among' the 'Globe's' passengers was John Q. 
A'. Marsh, who brought with him a stock of mer- 
chandise, which his brother George H. Marsh 
had ordered the 'previous fall. The two brothers 
opened a' store at once in the Hanna building, 
which was the first store ' in the county having 
other than Indian' goods. A month later they 
moved" the store to their own building on lot 
5 block 16, where they conducted a general store 
for years. ' ' 

On the 4th of May, 1854, a, second term of 
the District Court was held in Colonel Eobert- 
son's store building. Hon. A. G. Chatfield pre- 
sided, Basil Moreland was sheriff, ajid Jeffrey 
T. Adams clerk. 

This year witnessed, a number of cabins added 
to Mankato as well as to farm settlements to 
the north, east and south of it. At South 
Bend D. C. Evans erected quite a pretentious 
three story log house, the rear of the lower 
stories extended into the bluff, on the side of 
which it was built. Matthew Thompson, Elijah 
K. Bangs and John Barnard were among the 

new arrivals at the townsite. Joshua Barnard 
hdd located there some months before. 

On the west half of section 34 in Mankato 
township George Van Bnmt had in 1853 dis- 
covered a good water power on the he Sueur, 
and during the winter with the help of M. T. 
Comstock and James McMurtrie, he had a dam 
constructed and timbers hauled for a sawmill. By 
July, 1854, the mill was completed and began 
the manufacture of lumber, a much needed com- 
modity. This same summer George W. Lay be- 
gan the erection of a saw mill at Mankato, but 
tor some reason he failed to get it into workiug 
order for a year or two. On Minneopa Creek 
I. S. Lyons, "Buckskin Lyons," as the old set- 
tlers called him from his peculiar costume, put 
lip a small saw mill, which he began to operate 
on the 8th of August. It stood just above 
where the present New Ulm road crosses the 

From a census taken at the time and pre- 
served in his diary by D. C. Evans , the Town- 
ship of South Bend on August 8th, 1854, had: 
-'J'ive "houses, 1 six lamilies,- comprising twenty- 
. six souls,, one span lof horses, four yokes of oxen, 
- six cows, and two dogs. , On September 23nd, 
18S4, a plat of the/ ■ tpwjisite was recorded, in 
'y/hich D. ,C. Evans, Lyman Matthews, Samuel 
-IIumbertson,i/Alden -Bryant •ai;4 'M. ThompsOjU 
' appear i as' I proprietors. ■ .:,' ., ij iii 
. In July John JooBf and. his. Son-in-law, Grif- 
fith Jones, from nfear : Oshkosh, , Wis., visited 
■South Bend! Township J and rlooated claims on 
Eush Lake, to which- on August. 17th,, they re- 
moved with their families. -About -the first- of 
, April of this I same , y^ar S. Titus : Mills, started 
from his home in Lakfe. County, 111., in a:coveTed 
-wagoui-drtiwn by i two .yokes of- > Dxen,i hound for 
the Blue,- Earth '.country. , i -He . took - with , him 
thirty , head of cattle and one horse and had a 
man !to help drive them. After many adven- 
tures : and hardships- .he -.reached Mankato about 
the first of June. Mrs. Mills and the children 
started about a month later with Theron Par- 
sons and family and came by the ordinary 
steamboat route. She reached Mankato about as 
soon as her husband. Mr. Mills bought of 
George Cummings of Mankato a claim, he had 



just taken and built a small log cabin upon, 
at the east end of Mills lake, and on July 1st, 
moved his family thereon, being the first per- 
manent settler of Garden City Township. 

To illustrate one special annoyance, which 
every pioneer of that day experienced from the 
Indians, and to show as well the mettle of the 
women of that period, I will quote from a pa- 
per Mrs. Mills prepared for an old settlers gath- 
ering, this incident: "Provisions of all kinds 
v/ere- very high. Mr. Mills paid $1.50 a bushel 
for some corn. He kept it in sacks in one cor- 
ner of our cabin. The Indians saw it and came 
every day begging for it. At last they became 
so persistent we told them it was for our own 
use we had got it, and could not let them have 
it. One day Indian men, squaws and papooses 
crowded in and filled the room full. They ap- 
peared very merry, laughing and gabbleing 
among themselves. Soon I noticed their atten- 
tion was directed to the corner where the corn 
was and I knew they were helping themselves 
tn it. I was" alone with my little child and 
what could I do with so many of them. When 
they began to go out I saw some of them had 
corn in their blankets and let them go without 
saying anything. But one squaw had such a 
big load, it was more than I could put up with. 
1 took hold of her blanket, and gave it a sud- 
deii jerk, which loosened it and the corn fell 
tp the floor. I told her to put it back in the 
sack and she said no, and I closed the door and 
gave her to understand it must be put back 
before she could go out. The others laughed 
at her and helped her put it back, but, oh, how 
mad she was! I gave her a few ears and told 
her to go, and that was the last I saw of her." 

About the same time, or it may have been a 
i'ew weeks later, two young men from Vermont, 
named William and Edward Washburn, located 
claims in the Haunted Valley at the mouth of 
the Watonwan, in Garden City township. Early 
in the fall of the same year, came Charles 
Gilchrist, Edward Thompson, George Lamberton, 
Orin J. Westover and Edson Gerry, all young 
men, and located claims in the same town along 
the Watonwan. About the 1st of May W. E. 
Eobinson and S. H. Thorne left their homes 

in Tompkins County, N. Y., to seek their for- 
tunes in the west. Thorne went to visit his 
brother-in-law, Calvin Webb, in Iowa, while 
Eobinson went to his brother-ia-law, L. 0. Hunt, 
in Wisconsin. Since the cession of their lands 
by the Sioux, Minnesota was everywhere talked 
about as ofiering the best opportunity to set- 
tlers. Messrs. Hunt and Eobinson concluded to 
visit the Blue Earth country, where they ar- 
rived early in Jidy. Both were favorably im- 
pressed and made up their minds to locate here 
at once. Eobinson wrote to his family and to 
Mr. Thorne about the decision he had come to, 
and Mr. Thorne induced Calvin Webb to sell 
his Iowa claim and go with the rest to Minnesota. 
The Eobinson family joined the Hunt family 
in Dodge County, Wis., while the Thorne family 
went to Calvin Webb's home near Davenport, 
and all were to rendezvous at La Crosse on 
August 1st, 1854. Writing of the journey Mrs. 
Thorne says: "So we procured our camping 
outfit in Davenport and shipped most of our 
goods by boat to St. Paul. Our boat was de- 
tained four days at Galena, waiting for. pas- 
sengers overland from the west, so when we ar- 
rived at La Crosse, we did not meet our friends. 
We went up the river a few miles above Winona, 
and then started for our overland trip, very 
much disappointed that we did not meet them. 
We left the river, and it took all the forenoon 
to get up the bluff. When all the teams had 
reached the prairie we camped for dinner, our 
first meal on the boundless prairie. While we 
were preparing the meal, Mr. Webb and Mr. 
Thorne cui the bark from some trees nearby 
and wrote our names and date. 

After we had traveled about an hour we no- 
ticed a horseman following us on the gallop, and 
halted for him to come up. It proved to be 
Mr. Eobinson. They had found our campfire 
and our names and he had hurried after us, 
whUe the rest were cookiag dinner, and we 
were very happy to be together. We had no 
roads to follow, only the compass ■ to guide us. 
We had not expected to be more than ten days 
on the way, but we found all the marshes and 
cieeks full of water, and every river a raging 
torrent, so that it took us nearly six weeks. 



Our stores of bread and cake and such things 
soon disappeared. Once we traveled two days 
and came back where we camped 'the first night. 
That is only one of the many adventures we 
had. For over three weeks we never saw an- 
other human being, except two Indians, who 
visited our camp one night. We had no 
vegetables. ALL we had was some dried fish and 
salt meat and what bread we could bake before 
the camp fire, and many times we held the 
umbrella over it while it baked. We frequently 
saw elk and deer and plenty of wild fowl, but 
our hunters never could get near enough to kill 
any of them. When everything was done for 
the night, before we sought our beds spread on 
the earth under the canvass we always sang: 

"Forever with the Lord, 
Amen, so let it be. 
Life from the dead is in that word. 
Tis immortality. 
Here in the body pent 
Absent from him we roam. 
But nightly pitched our moving tent 
A days' march nearer home." 

Well at last we reached the Blue Earth river, 
just above the mouth of the Le Sueur and we 
had no way to get across. So some of our 
m.en swam across and went to South Bend, and 
Armstrong and Lemeraux came over with a 
boat and helped us. It took about all day Sat- 
urday, and we could not get to South Bend 
until Sunday morning, September 13th, and a 
very sorry looking crowd were we. D. C. Evans 
kindly welcomed us and let us have a part of 
his new house, and we were happy to be under 
a roof once more. We thought our troubles 
were over, but alas we had only begun our 
frontier life, and the many trials and privations 
we had to endure seem now almost incredible. 
Mr. Thorne took a claim on Crystal Lake, Mr. 
Webb located in Judson Township, and Mr. 
Hunt and Mr. Eobinson after settling for a 
few weeks in Eapidan, removed on November 
1st to the banks of Lake Crystal." 

Early in 1853 the Eureka Townsite and 
Water Power company was organized, with Hir- 
am Caywood as the prime mover. A townsite 

was laid out, called "Eureka" near the mouth of 
Swan Lake Creek, in Nicollet County, and dur- 
ing that summer a saw mill was erected by Mr. 
Caywood on the creek. This at once attracted 
some settlers to the locality, as the townsite was 
widely advertised. A few of these located on 
the Judson bottom, on the Blue Earth County 
side of the river, as early as 1853. Eev. John 
Tidland and family, and John Eandahl, were 
of this number. During 1854, John Goodwin, 
William Irving, Chester D. Hill, Eobert Pat- 
terson, Gustav Johnson, Peter Olson, Charles 
Youngberg, John Beckman and Fred and Frank 
Winnestrand joined the Judson settlers. 

Near the little town of St. Charles, Mo., not 
far from St. Louis, a number of German farm- 
ers had settled. The land was quite hilly and 
ill adapted for agriculture. Two of the colony 
went across the Mississippi into the Illinois 
country to purchase a threshing outfit in the 
spring of 1854. The rich farming lands they 
saw there opened their eyes to the poverty of 
the soil they had chosen at St. Charles, and 
they went home and stirred up the community 
to the folly of remaining in such a barren spot, 
when the country was full of good land. Af 
a conference held, it was decided to send one of 
their number as a spy to discover the best land. 
A young German of good judgment and educa- 
tion and thoroughly reliable, named Nicolas 
Uhle, was hired for $35.00 per month and ex- 
penses and sent out on the important mission. 
He went through Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, 
and up above St. Paul on the Mississippi. 
Then he came up the Minnesota to Mankato 
and put up with Clements Kron. The next 
morning after his arrival he called on Mr. Kron 
for his bill and paid it. He remained in the 
locality two or three weeks, making daily ex- 
cursions into the country. He would tell no 
one of his mission, and the Germans at Man- 
kato were quite puzzled to explain his mysterious 
coming and going. He finally returned to St. 
Charles with a full report of all the lands he 
had seen, but his recommendation was to the 
country about Mankato in Blue Earth County. 

The report was adopted and the following 
persons made ready at once to go to the prom- 



ised land: Michael Hund, Philip Hodapp, Peter 
Schulte, David Heidwinkle, and Frank Bortmeir 
with their families, and Henry Vahle and Leo 
Lamm, both ithen unmarried. Young "Uhle was, 
to his great disappointment, denied the privi- 
lege of going with the colony, as his parents just 
tiien summoned him back to Germany. This 
band of German emigrants reached Mankato 
on October 14th, 1854, and settled in Lime and 
Mankato Townships, where they and their de- 
scendants became prominent residents. Nearly 
all of the fathers and mothers, however, have 
gone to their reward, after rendering splendid 
service to their church and community. 

The year 1854 saw the beginning of settle- 
ments in Eapidan, Lyra and McPherson. Basil 
Moreland made a claim of 160 acres in section 
7 of Eapidan covering the finest water power 
on the Blue Earth. In April, Oliver J. Roe 
and John N. Dodgson made claims in the same 
town. In August Isaac Andrus and Truman P. 
Andrus located upon farms along the Maple in 
sections 11 and 12 of the same town, while 
Williston K. Greenwood claimed on the Blue 
Earth adjoining Basil Moreland in section 7. 
In the fall of this same year Noble G. Eoot 
moved with his family to a claim he had made 
on the Maple adjoining the present vUlage of 
Good Thunder on the south in sections 9 and 
10 of Lyra. On October 11th Barnabas W. 
Simmons took possession with his family of 160 
acres in section 33 of Lyra. In November of 
this same year Charles Mansfield and Ansen 
AV. Callen located upon claims on the east 
bank of -Rice LaJvC, in McPherson Township on 
sections nineteen and twenty. 

On July 1st, 1854, George H. Marsh began 
his contract with the government for the trans- 
portation of the mail once a week between St. 
Paul and Mankato. The first trip he made on 
foot as far as Traverse des Sioux and thence 
down the river in an Indian canoe. A horse 
and light wagon were procured for the return 
trip and used for a time; but soon two horses 
\vere used and a covered rig to carry passen- 
gers and light freight. Within about a year 
the service was increased to twice a week, then 
thrice a week, and finally daily and the south- 

ern terminus removed to South Bend. To have 
a regular mail service even once a week was a 
wonderful convenience to the settlers in their iso- 
lation. No need then for any postoffice or let- 
ter boxes, for on mail day every resident in the 
settlement was on hand long before the arrival 
of the post, and all postmaster Johnson had to 
do, after opening the mail bag, was to call the 
names and each person was on hand to receive 
his mail. If any one failed to respond Mr. 
Johnson would put the letter in his pocket and 
look him up, for there must have been something 
serious the matter with him. The first assess- 
ment ever made in the county occurred in 1854. 
A most important event for the settlers of 
Blue Earth County in 1854 was the government 
survey of the land. Until this time no settler 
cculd tell much about the boundary of his claim. 
Surveyors would mark out 160 acres of land for 
a settler, but with no township or section lines 
to go by, no one could well describe it, or know 
how much of it he could hold when the survey 
was made. The original townsite of Mankato 
was platted from a survey made before the 
government lines were run, and the whole is tied 
to a stake on Main street near the Saulpaugh, 
where the survey started. AU the settlers had 
to readjust their farms more or less when the 
survey was made. The government surveyors 
began their work on the county about July 1st, 
1854, at its southeast corner, and worked 
north and west. They first ran the township 
and range lines, and then subdivided the town- 
ships into sections. The work occupied all that 
summer and fall, and was not fully completed 
until the following spring. A number of per- 
sons connected with this survey located at Man- 
kato this same fall. Prominent among whom 
were L. G. M. Fletcher, John T. Everett and 
Henry Humphrey. Others who settled in Manka- 
to this same fall are: William P. Coffin and Joel 
Cloud, (who during the winter ran a small 
store in the Hanna building on the levee), 
Daniel T. Bunker, S. M. Walker, Adam Freun- 
dle, Geo. A. Clark, Morton Lafiin, B. W. Stan- 
nard, Antoin Jacoby, Jacob and Henry Sontag, 
Columbus Ballard and many others. 

On the 3rd of July, 1854, the election pre- 



cinct of South Bond was created, embracing all 
the county -west of the Blue Earth river. The 
second election in the county occurred on Octo- 
ber 10th, 1854. That in South Bend precinct 
was held at the house of D. C. Evans, with 
L. Matthews, ISToah Armstrong and D. 0. Evans 
as Judges of Election and I. S. Lyons as Clerk 
I'lve votes were cast at this precinct, forty-five 
at the Mankato precinct, and thirteen at Kasota 
j)recinct, maldng fifty-three votes in all. Daniel 
T. Bunker was elected sheriff over Edwin Howe, 
Vtho on the resignation of Basil Moreland liad 
been appointed to the office on September 4th. 
Minard Mills was elected Judge of Probate; 
James Thomson, County Treasurer; D. C. Evans, 
County Commissioner, and E. Goodrich, Sur- 

On September 9th, 1854, John Lyons, son 
of I. S. Lyons died, and was buried a little 
Avest of the present Minneopa Cemetery. He 
was about twenty-one years old and of a very 
amiable character. His death was the first 
among the settlers west of the Blue Earth. 
The funeral services were held out doors in a 
grove, and Eev. James Thomson on this occas- 
ion preached the first sermon west of the Blue 
Earth. The first birth among the settlers west 
of the Blue Earth was that of Elsie J. (now 
Mrs. Bailey) daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. H. 
Thorne on the banks of Lake Crystal on De- 
cember 13th, 1854. The winter of 1854-5 was 
quite severe, with deep snow and, as none of 
the settlers were very well housed or clad, it 
entailed no little suffering and hardship. Deer 
and all kinds of game were plenty, but the cold 
and snow made hunting a very arduous sport. 

P. K. Johnson bought of the Indians and set- 
tlers during the winter five hundred deer pelts, 
killed around Mankato, showing something of 
the number of that kind of game. 

In spite of the cold, the poor houses, the 
poor clothing, the poor food, the isolation, and 
the many hardships and deprivations, the peo- 
ple were mostly young and strong and enjoyed 
their frontier life. A lyceum had been started 
in Mankato as early as the winter of 1853, in 
which all took great interest. It had closed 
in the spring in a blaze of glory with a grand 
exhibition. The Lady of the Lake was drama- 
tized, there were songs, recitations and comic 
farces. John E. Harrison, Minard Mills, Josiah 
Keene and Miss Hanna and others were fine 
singers. Josiah Keene made a great hit as a 
colored man, wearing a pair of cow hide boots, 
he had borrowed of General Matthews. The 
General was quite a large man and his feet 
were massive. He had these boots constructed 
ample enough to fit over his other shoes, and 
truly they were "Great." It toook some ^plo- 
macy on the part of the managers to keep good 
old Father Thomson from not being over much 
shocked by such levity, especially when Keene 
added some lively tunes on his ungodly fiddle to 
his other antics. But one or two good religious 
songs, sang in the minor key brought the old 
gentleman to, and all went home happy. The 
winter of 1854-5 saw the lyceum more flourish- 
ing than ever, because of the added numbers. 
There were learned addresses, fiery debates, and 
iiispiring songs, the echoes of which lingered in 
the souls of our pioneers for many a_ day, and 
broke the monotony of the wilderness life. 




Never did a year open more auspiciously for 
our county than 1855. The streams of immi- 
gration, now at flood height, all tended. to the 
Llue Earth country; capital was seekiag there 
for some of its best investments; and tiie na- 
tural wealth of its soil was budding everywhere 
with the assurance of abundant fruitage. But 
just as sometimes happens with our Minnesota 
weather; the morning opens splendid in promise, 
bright, clear and balmy, when suddenly the 
entire heavens are overcast, and the splendid 
promise of the morning is lost in a dull, damp 
desolate day. So that even the beauty of the 
morning is only remembered as a "weather 
breeder." So the exceptional bright prospects 
of our county were doomed to a sudden and 
unexpected eclipse. 

On February 20th, 1855, the Territorial Leg- 
islature, which heretofore had been so lavish to 
the county in matter of territory, now, when 
it was ready to use it, changed its attitude. On 
.the ;east,- south and west the present boundaries 
■R ere adopted, while on the. north the entire 
township: of Kasota including also the present 
township of Lime and Jamestown were taken 
from Blue Earth and added to Le Sueur county. 
But this was not the worst. Seven days after 
the , passage of this bill by our Legislature, a 
treaty was negotiated on February 37th, 1855, 
by a few Winnebago chiefs, who had been taken 
to Washington for the purpose, whereby these 
Indians ceded their reservation on the upper 
Mississippi and were given iastead a reservation 
in Blue Earth and Waseca Counties, thirty 
miles long east and west, by thirteen miles wide 
north and south. The north line of this reser- 
vation was to pass through the juncture of the 

Le Sueur and Blue Earth rivers. This point it 
is claimed had been falsely represented to Con- 
gress to have been twenty miles distant from 
Mankato. The portion taken from Blue Earth 
County embraced the whole of McPherson, Medo, 
Beauford, Decoria, Lyra and Eapidan and the 
south tiers of sections in South Bend, Mankato 
and Le Ray, six townships and a half of the 
very best farm lands in the county, — about one- 
third of its total area, — taken from its very heart 
and given to the Indians, while two full town- 
ships and a fraction were cut ofE from its north- 
east corner and given to Le Sueur county. All 
there was left of our once magnificent fine 
county was a thin shell embracing at its center 
a big Indian reservation. In those days before 
there was a telegraph or even a railroad news 
traveled slowly. Our people heard of their loss 
of territory by hand of the Legislature, however, 
a month or more before the news from Wash- 
ington. The delegation of Winnebagoes, who 
had accompanied General Fletcher, their agent, 
to Washington comprised three chiefs namely: 
Winneschiek or Waunk-annchakugah (the Com- 
ing Thunder), Hoonch-ha-haykah • (Big Bear), 
and Hoonkhonokah (Little Priest), and three 
braves. These returned to St. Paul with Gen- 
eral Fletcher by April 20th, and at once pro- 
ceeded with him to the Blue Earth country, to 
inspect their new reservation and to accurately 
fix its boundaries, for the matter had been left 
somewhat to the agent. On arriving at Mankato 
about the last of April, General Fletcher em- 
ployed Evans Goodrich, the County Surveyor, to 
run the lines of the reservation. The people 
raised the most vigorous protests against these 
confiscations of their territory. They were the 




main topics of conversation all that year. On 
the 3nd of June a mass meeting convened at 
Mankato to protest against the Indian reserva- 
tion. Theron Parsons was chairman and Eo- 
bert Wardlaw, Secretary. Speeches were made 
by: Isaac Andrus, Basil Moreland, Lewis Bran- 
son, P. K. Johnson and others. Resolutions 
were passed protesting against the taking of their 
homes away from the settlers, against the putting 
so many savages as a menace to the lives and 
property of the adjacent white settlements, and 
against the taking so much territory from civ- 
ilization, and the county of Blue Earth for the 
perpetuation of savagery in its midst. A com- 
mittee was appointed to present the memorial to 
Governor Gorman. But all was to no avail so 
far as the Indian reservation was concerned, for 
their cry for redress was too feeble to be heard 
in Washington. About the middle of June the 
entire Wimnebago tribe, over two thousand 
strong, broke upon Mankato like an avalanche. 
Some came up the river in bark canoes, others 
came upon ponies and dog carts, and still others 
on foot, and were piloted out to their reserva- 
tion. General Fletcher fixed upon the spot 
where now stands the village of St. Clair as 
the headquarters for the tribe, and here he had 
his own house and the government houses and 
stores erected, and the place was designated the 
''Winnebago Agency." 

In following the advent of the Winnebagoes 
into the county we have omitted many other 
lesser events, which we now will return to 
chronicle. The office of sheriff in those early 
days was. not as much sought for as in subse- 
quent years. Daniel P. Bunker as sheriS elect 
should have taken office on January 1st, 1855, 
but he sent his resignation to the County Board 
instead and Edwin Howe, who had served under 
appointment during the latter half of 1854, 
was re-appointed for 1855; and on February 
21st, Lewis Branson was appointed County At- 
torney. The County Commissioners for this 
year were Bphraim Cole, Chairman, D. C. Evans 
and Joseph W. Babcock; but, by cutting Kasota 
from the county of Blue Earth, Mr. Babcock 
was legislated out of office on April 1st, 1855, 
and the county had to get along with two com- 

missioners for the balance of the year. Since 
the spring of 1854 most of the county offices 
had been located in the Moreland building on 
lot 3 block 7, where most everything of a public 
nature was conducted. Here Father Thomson 
preached twice every Sabbath; here Sarah J. 
Marsh, and, after her. Miss Mary Ann Thomson 
tfiught the day school, here was held the lyceum 
and debating society. On top of the building 
Father Thomson had rigged a large dinner bell, 
he had brought with him from Indiana, to caD 
the people to church. This bell during the hot 
summer months, when routed from their beds 
by mosquitoes, the young men used to ring at 
midnight to the great annoyance of the rest of 
tiie town. 

On January 5th, 1855, South Bend was or- 
ganized into a separate school district, designated 
No. 3 and it was reported that there were eighty 
persons between the ages of four and twenty- 
one in Blue Earth County aside from Kasota. 
Even the snow and cold of winter did not stop 
immigration altogether. About February 10th, 
John A. Jones, David J. Lewis and Evan J. 
Lewis arrived in South Bend from Emmet, Wis., 
having made the journey mostly on foot. They, 
found claims in the vicinity of South Bend and, 
after building temporary cabins, returned early 
in March to Wisconsin after their families and 
neighbors. In March, William P. Coffin and 
Joel Cloud located upon section five of Eapi- 
dan. Francis Veigh, David B. Backus and 
Frank Obale also took claims early in the spring 
in Rapidan. This was before they had any 
knowledge of the Winnebago reservation cover- 
ing these lands. 

In the early spring Mankato and vicinity 
bad a small Indian scare. Messrs. Callen and 
Mansfield, who had been domiciled on claims 
by Rice Lake, came hurrying into town one 
day saying they had been attacked by Indians. 
A company was formed and started for the 
seat of trouble. On the Le Sueur they met an 
Indian lad, about eighteen years old named 
"Joyce," who was quite friendly with the set- 
tlers and a favorite among them. The whites 
asked him about the matter and he burst into 
a big laugh, and explained how he had been 



out hunting with other Indians on Eice Lake. 
1'hat in some way he got separated from his com- 
panions and to signal them had fired his gun 
three or four times. Thus ended the scare and 
the company marched home. 

Before navigation had fairly opened in the 
spring of 1855, hundreds of settlers were pushing 
VTestward. Some came by teams but the great 
majority journeyed on foot. On the 18th of 
April Humphrey Jones, Thomas Y. Davis, Wil- 
liam C. Williams, William Jenkins, Ed. Pierce, 
John Watkins, William Jones and Anthony 
Howells arrived at South Bend from Ohio and 
Illinois and soon located upon claims in the 
northwest corner of Judson. When they came 
the ice was yet firm in Lake Pepin, though the 
river, both above and below, was open and 
the boats running. They with hundreds of 
others walked from the foot of the lake to its 
head a distance of thirty miles, to catch a boat 
at that point for St. Paul. The water in the 
Minnesota continued very low during the spring 
of 1855, and few boats were able to ascend be- 
yond the rapids at Carver, until the June rains. 
John Menne and John Pohl reached St. Paul 
from Dubuque, Iowa, in April before the ice was 
out of Lake Pepin. Meeting John Fresholtz at 
the capital city, they were induced to come to 
Mankato and take up claims in its vicinity. 
On the 17th the first boat passed through Lake 
Pepin. On board came Edward Brace, who with 
a companion footed it from St. Paul to Man- 
kato, and that fall took a claim near Jackson 
Lake. He was the second settler in Shelby. 
Norman Jackson who had been obliged to aban- 
don his claim in Lyra because it was on the 
Winnebago reservation, preceding Mr. Brace as 
first settler of Shelby only by a few weeks. About 
the middle of April Evan D. Evans arrived at 
South Bend with his family from Blossbury, 
Pa., and on the 27th of the same month came 
Evan Evans (Pant) and John Jones (Maes 
Mawr) from Waukesha, Wis. April 22nd was 
held the first prayer meeting west of the Blue 
Earth. The place was the cabin of John Jones 
(Oshkosh) on Eush Lake and those present were: 
Mr. Jones and family, William C. Williams, 
William Jenkins, Humphrey Jones, Thos. Y. 

Davis and others of their party. April 39th the 
first prayer meeting in South Bend village was 
held at the home of D. C. Evans, then occupied 
by Evan D. Evans. The service was partly in 
Welsh and partly in English, both nationalities 
being present. Those taking part were Evati 
D. Evans, Owen Herbert, Joshua Barnard and 
Evan Evans (Pant). A Sunday school had 
been held the preceeding February, when D. C. 
Evans, Joshua Barnard, Owen Herbert, John 
A. Jones, David and Evan J. Lewis with others 
would gather on Sundays at Mr. Evans' house, 
and read chapters of the Scriptures, each com- 
menting and questioning upon his own verse 
after the Welsh method. Mr. Barnard, a re- 
ligious man, who thereafter became an efficient 
minister of the M. E. Church, usually began 
those Bible studies with prayer. None of South 
Bend pioneers at that time had much musical 
ability, so Mr. Barnard, who had learned to 
play the violin in his youth, would lead the sing- 
ing by first thrumming the tune over on an old 
bass-viol, then all joined in with lusty voices. 
On the 5th of May Edward Thomas Sr., ar- 
rived with his family from Pomeroy, Ohio, and 
on the second Sabbath of that month was started 
the first regular Sunday school in South Bend, 
with Dr. E. Thomas as superintendent. Dr. 
Thomas was, also, a music teacher, and he sup- 
plied the village beyond the Blue Earth with 
their lack in this line. He had the whole com- 
munity soon organized into singing classes. May 
21st, Thos. M. Pugh and Thomas Phillips 
reached South Bend from Dodgeville, Wis. They 
made the journey from Shakopee on foot in 
company with two Germans. Failing to reach 
a house by night, they had to lodge under the 
twinkling stars. The four laid down in a row, 
on a blanket, Pugh on the outside, and being 
tired, soon fell asleep. Towards midnight Pugh 
was awakened by the loud howling of the wolves 
in the surrounding forest. After listening a 
while to their dismal cries, at times sounding 
viciously near, he began to think his outside 
position not the most desirable. Next to him 
lay a sleek fat German and getting up, Pugh 
crawled in on the other side of him, saying as 
he pushed the Teuton outward, "The Dutch- 



man first Mr. Wolf." The early settlers well 
remember how numerous the wolves were dur- 
ing the first few years, and how they made night 
hideous with their howlings. As a rule they 
were a small harmless kind, though, and so 
timid as to be seldom seen by day, and with the 
settling of the country they almost entirely dis- 

The foreign elements which came to Blue 
Earth County in its pioneer days were not only 
tJirifty and honest but as a rule devoutly relig- 
ious. The majority of the Germans belong- 
ed to the Catholic faith, and soon aifter 
their arrival they began to long for the worship 
of God after the custom of their fathers. As 
early as December 30, 1854, a few of the faithful 
oiies gathered at the log hotel of Clements Kron 
tj consider the founding of a Catholic congre- 
gation at Mankato. Among those present were: 
Micheal Hund, John Bruels, Philip Hodapp, 
Peter Schulte, Frank Borgmeier, David Heid- 
winkel, Peter Frenzel, Carl Prohnert, Anton 
Jacoby, Blasius Yobst, Clements Kron, Henry 
Sontag and Henry Vahle. In the spring of 
1855 a church building lot was bought of P. 
K. Johnson for $300.00. The first mass in the 
county was read by Father A. Eavaux, the In- 
dian missionary, on February 2nd, 1855, at the 
log cabin of Micheal Hund, where the worthy 
father was stopping over night. With the Win- 
nebagoes came to the county a number of white 
employees connected with the agency. Most of 
these were of French extraction and largely 
Catholic in religion. Many of the Indians, also, 
belonged to that faith. 

In the latter part of June, 1855, Bishop Jos- 
eph Cretin drove by team from his home in St. 
Paul to visit his Mankato flock, and on June 
24th, 1855, celebrated the first public mass in 
Blue Earth County. It was held at a log cabin 
donated for the service of the church by Michael 
Hund, and located about a mile east of the 
present Mankato church on the Agency road. 
I'his service was a privilege greatly enjoyed by 
the Catholic brethren and they gathered from 
the Winnebago agency and from all parts of the 
county to hear the good bishop. He encouraged 
the Mankato congregation to build a church and 
a building committee was appointed, of which 

John Bruels was secretary, and subscriptions 
obtained, and by the 22nd of July the work 
on the foundations of a stone church were be- 
gun. Ludwig Volz had the contract for the 
stone work and Gottfried Eobel for the lumber. 
Among the baptisms administered on this visit 
by the bishop were, Joseph Kron, the first 
white male child born in Mankato, and John 
B. Hodapp, now and for many prior years the 
City Eecorder of Mankato. About the first of 
August the very Eev. Francis De Vivaldi, apos- 
tolic missionary to the Winnebago Indians, held 
services at the agency. 

In the train of the Winnebago Indians came 
a few men, who at once took a prominent place 
in the business affairs of the county. Among 
these were Isaac Marks, Asa White and Henry 
Foster. The last two located at the agency, 
but Mr. Marks opened a general store at Man- 
kato, and for years the firm of White and 
Marks was the most prominent emporium of 
ti'ade in the county. In the spring of 1855 the 
U. S. government advertised for bids to construct 
the military road, surveyed by Captain Eeno 
in 1853 between Mendota and the Big Sioux 
river. Three contracts were let covering the 
portion of this road between South Bend and 
Mendota, and two went to Captain William 
Dodd of St. Peter, who on June 14th began 
work with sixty men and eight or ten yokes of 
oxen. The construction of this important high- 
way greatly aided travel between our county and 
St. Paul. 

About June 1, 1855, Morris Lewis and David 
A. Davis, located claims in the present town of 
Cambria and on the 12th of the same month, 
John E. Davis and family arrived, having come 
in a covered wagon from Illinois. He was the 
first actual settler in that town. He was soon 
followed by John Nicholson and family and 
George Gilley and family. In July, David J. 
Davis, David J. Williams, David Y. Davis and 
others located in the same town, then known as 
the Cottonwood settlement. 

A Welsh preacher, named Eev. Eichard Davis, 
whose home had been at La Crosse, had done 
much to arouse the interest of the Welsh people 
in South Bend and Blue Earth County by ar- 
ticles in the periodicals of that nationality. In 



July he removed to South Bend being the first 
minister to settle there. In June, John A. 
Jones, Evan and David J. Lewis returned to 
South Bend bringing their families and a num- 
ber of their neighbors. Of this colony were, be- 
sides the families named Evan H. Evans, Hugh 
Edwards, William J. Roberts, John Pugh, Sr., 
Griffith Eoberts, Eobert R. Williams, Thomas 
J. Jones (Bryn Llys), and David Evans, all from 
Emmet near Watertovra, Wis. They came across 
the country by way of La Crosse and Rochester 
in eleven covered wagons with their families, 
household goods, farming implements and cat- 
tle, making a great company, so that David 
Lyon of La Crosse told D. C. Evans, who hap- 
pened to be there a few days after they passed, 
that there were thousands of them. They were 
six weeks making the journey. A religious peo- 
ple, too, were they, who in all their weary 
journey did not forget the worship of God a 
single Sunday. Crossing the Mississippi oppo- 
site La Crosse on Saturday, they halted over 
the Sabbath, May 34, 1855, and had Eev. Rich- 
ard Davis come across in a skiff and preach to 
them there in the wilderness. This was the 
first Welsh sermon in Minnesota, and probably 
the first west of the Father of Waters. Near 
the Straight river they were overtaken by a 
detachment dfi several hundred Winnebagoes 
from Wisconsin, on their way to their new res- 
ervation in Blue Earth County. The sight of 
KO many savages and the thought that they were 
to be such close neighbors, rather intimidated our 
immigrants and they halted some days in doubt 
whether to advance, retreat or go elsewhere. 
The majority concluded to go ahead and the 
others soon followed. Arriving at the top of 
the Main street hill overlooking Mankato, they 
adopted a novel method of letting their loads 
down the steep bluff. A number of trees were 
chopped down and one hitched behind each 
wagon. They answered the purpose of brakes 
most successfully. This colony located along 
Minneopa Creek. 

On June 24, 1855, Rev. William Williams, a 
Baptist preacher from Big Rock, 111., visited 
South Bend and preached there the first Welsh 
sermon in Blue Earth County. About July 8th, 

Eev. Richard Davis removed from La Crosse to 
South Bend and was the first Welsh minister 
to settle in the county. On the 1st of August, 
1855, he organized at his own cabin in South 
Bend village the first Welsh church in the 
county. It was an Union church with five 
deacons and forty-three members. Rev. R. Davis 
was pastor; Edward Thomas, Sr., Secretary, and 
the Deacons were: Evan H. Evans, Evan Evans 
(Pant), William R. Price, William J. Roberts, 
and Edward Thomas, Sr. As far as known this 
was the first regular church in the county. Reg- 
ular Sabbath services were held thereafter at 
South Bend village. 

On August 31st, 1855, the First Presbyterian 
church of Mankato was formally organized by 
Rev. James Thomson at the Hanna residence, 
in the rear of the lot now occupied by the First 
National Bank. The following seventeen per- 
sons, each bearing a letter from an eastern 
church comprised the charter members of the 
new church: Maria H. Thomson, Juliet Thom- 
son, Mary Ann Thomson, William H. Thomson, 
Amos D. Seward, Henry Schuler, Jonathan B. 
Stanley, Nancy Hanna, Margaret Ann Hanna, 
Sarah Jane Hanna, Cornelius Vannice, Susan 
Vannice, George C. Clapp, Marietta Clapp and 
Sarah Maxfield. A. D. Seward was chosen elder 
and was the only church officer elected for 
years. At the Methodist Episcopal conference 
held in June, 1855, Rev. Lewis Bell was ap- 
pointed to have charge of preaching stations at 
]\rankato, Le Sueur, Traverse des Sioux, Shako- 
pee and Henderson, making quite an extensive 
parish. He preached his first sermon at Man- 
kato on July 1st of that year. 

On the evening* of July 4th, 1855, the open- 
ing of the Mankato House was duly celebrated 
with a big supper and ball to which the settlers 
gathered from far and near, and a royal time 
was had. 

About August 1st, the Sioux Indians gave 
their new neighbors, the Winnebagoes, a great 
reception feast at Mankato, which in number of 
guests and the demonstrations held, far outdid 
the opening of the white man's wigwam. The 
streets, the woods, and the river literally swarmed 
for several days with these dusky denizens of 



the wilderness. Their e&stumes, consisting al- 
most wholly of paint and feathers, were gorgeous. 
Their principle gathering place was in Warren 
and Van Brant's Additions. Four or more of 
the largest teepees were joined together to form 
the feast lodges. The sound of the tom toms 
and dance songs was scarcely hushed day or 
night. Our old settler friend, \Y. P. Coffin, re- 
members coming to Mankato during the days of 
this feast from his Eapidan claim. As all the pio- 
neers well recall, cattle were much afraid of In- 
dians, and would scent them from afar and run 
from them. Mr. Coffin had a pair of very 
young steers and the smell and. sight of so 
many Indians had put them in a quiver of ex- 
citement and terror. A mischievous young buck 
noticing the frantic behavior of the oxen slipped 
o-i his blanket and, with a yell that might have 
split Gibralter, smote them on the back. A 
modem runaway on Front street would have 
been a tame affair compared to what that thor- 
oughfare then saw, and it took Mr. Coffin a 
long time to find his oxen and wagon again. In 
those early days the Indians were very numerous 
in the land and were regarded with much dis- 
trust and fear by the settlers before they became 
used to them. Frequently a number of dusky 
braves, much to the terror of the women and 
children, would come to a cabin, peer in at the 
window or door, walk into the room unbidden, 
and drawing their blankets about them, sit on 
the floor in a row against the wall, smoking 
their long stone pipes in silence. Then rising, 
by signs and Indian speech they would beg for 
something to eat, which usually would be given 
them if there was a morsel in the house, in 
order to get rid of them. After a while every 
settler provided himself with a good savage 
watch dog, which from religious veneration, the 
red man seldom killed. When on a drunken 
spree or when holding their wild dancing feasts, 
the Indians were very noisy and demonstrative, 
and often in the weary watches of the night 
would the poineers shudder as he heard the 
tumult of their revelry. One beautiful night 
in July, 1855, as Humphrey Jones, Thos. Y. 
Davis, Owen Eoberts and Morris Lewis were 
sitting in their newly finished cabin in the 

northwest corner of Judson, they were startled 
by the most blood curdling yells and shrieks 
and pounding of drums and firing of guns in 
the direction of an Indian camp, situated in 
the edge of the timber about a quarter of a 
mile distant. Eunning out they could see that 
the whole village was in the wildest commotion. 
Men and women running, leaping and yelling 
like raving demoniacs, and beating upon kettles 
and Indian drums, with a hubbub like pande- 
monium. Our friends, newly arrived from the 
coal mines of Ohio, spent a night of terror in 
their hut, expecting every moment to be mur- 
dered by the savages, who, all night long with 
unabated fury continued their hideous riot. 
Carried by the breeze the noise ever and anon 
seemed to approach close to the, cabin, then it 
would recede again. When morning came at 
last all was quiet and peaceful, and our four 
friends found their scalps had not been dis- 
turbed. During the day an Indian boy, dis- 
posed to cultivate the acquaintance of the pale- 
faced strangers, paid them a visit, and of him 
they inquired the cause of the night's uproar. 
"Sick; so big" (measuring with his hand about 
two feet from the floor), was the laconic reply. 
They finally understood that a papoose had 
been taken very ill during the night and the 
savages thought that the Evil one was prowling 
around trying to steal its soul, and the noise 
was made to scare him away. 

Another obnoxious occupant of the land, more 
numerous than the wolves or Indians, and much 
more aggressive in their hostility, were the 
mosquitoes. N'one but the oldest pioneers can 
form any idea of what a plague these pests 
were in the early days. The rank grass of the 
prairie, encircling so many lakes and sloughs, 
and the thick underbrush of the forests, with 
the many bogs, brooks and rivers, bordered by 
dense thickets, seemed a very paradise for these 
blood-thirsty little vampires. Should it be cloudy, 
one could hardly endure them during the day; 
but when evening came, the atmosphere was 
alive with them, a million to every cubic inch, 
and as ferociously hungry as though they had 
fasted for a year and a day. The rude huts 
of the settlers, without the many protecting 





I — I 







devices, which invention and money furnish to 
modern life, afforded but little shelter against 
this annoying foe. 

Thus amid Indians, wolves, mosquitoes and 
wild nature in general, our sturdy pioneer be- 
gan the work of bringing the savage Wilderness 
into civilized subjection. A great work too it- 
was, much greater than we of today can ever 
appreciate. No houses, no lumber, no fields, 
no .fences, no farming implements, no seed, no 
schools, no churches, no highways, no bridges, 
no mills, no money, no food, no towns wherein 
to buy the necessaries of life, and no railway 
to bring in a few hours these things from afar; 
but with a slow ox team plodding through the 
tall grass of the prairie and the thick tangled 
underbrush of the unbroken forest, now fast 
in some bottomless slough, and having to carry 
on his back the load and the wagon out by 
piece meal, now descending at the peril of his 
neck into some ravine, and again with much 
labor climbing the steep precipice out of it, here 
having a narrow escape from drowning in at- 
tempting to ford a river, there almost dashed 
in pieces by the upsetting of the wagon over 
the precipitous edge of some narrow hillside 
trail, ever from one adventure and peril to an- 
otber, on the long, long journev of one hundred 
miles to St. Paul after a little flour and pro- 
visions. Three week? are spent in going^ to this 
nearest market and back, without shelter from 
summer's heat and rain, and from winter's 
cold and stormy blast. TTp mav Tierish in the 
snow and storm, his family in the little bark 
roofed shantv mav perish from cold and hnnsrer. 
Then when in response to their hard toil the 
(rround bejran to vield her increase and their 
flocks to multiplv. there was no market for their 
little surnlus and for manv a year all their 
labor and sacrifice Yielded but scant reward. All 
honor to the sturdy nioneer! Wortbv are thev 
of lone remembrance! "NTohlv thev suffered, 
bravely they stma'a'led in the strife with savage 
nature and savage men. ninched bv novertv, 
around under the heal« of one advprsitv after 
another: vet with heroic faith and fortitude 
thev faced each foe ; and one hv one ere scarce 
the battle ceased, they fell covered with the 
scars of toil and hardship, leaving to us who 

follow the fruits of their glorious victory, in 
happy homes, fields smiling with cultivation, 
cities bustling with trade, churches, schools, 
manufactories, transportation facilities, a com- 
monwealth rich and prosperous. The modern 
pioneer preceded by railroads, telegraphs and 
all the modem conveniences, knows little of 
pioneer life fifty years ago. 

The year 1855 saw a number of settlements 
started in various parts of the county. We have 
seen how the Germans were occupying the tim- 
ber farms of ilankato and Lime Township, how 
the Welsh colony from Emmett, • Wis., took pos- 
session of the county along Minneopa Creek, 
while Welsh immigrants from Ohio, Illinois, 
and Pennsylvania settled along the timber of 
the Minnesota in Judson and Cambria. Be- 
sides those we have already named, Eev. 
William Williams, a Baptist preacher, settled 
with his family on Judson Bottom. David T. 
Davis and family, Henry Hughes and family, 
Evan .T. Davis, and many others settled in 
Judson and Cambria this year. Just across the 
river from Judson village located David J. 
Williams (Bradford) and Evan Bowen and 
families. Later they moved into Blue Earth 

We, also, noted how the previous year settlers 
had located along the Maple in Eapidan and 
near the junction of the Watonwan and Blue 
Earth. The year 1855 saw a number of ac- 
cessions to the settlements on the Watonwan 
and the claims adjacent to that stream taken 
as far as Ceresco and Lincoln. Among the 
settlers of that year to locate in Garden City 
were: William P. Thompson and family, John 
C. Thompson and family, Joseph Derby and 
family, John Derby and family, John B. Skin- 
ner and family. James Gale and family, Edsort 
Gerry, Mr. Esmond, Georg-e Atwell. Gehiel Abar, 
David D. Hunter and family, Ithimer Town 
and family, Abraham Lvtle and family. J. H. 
Greenwood and Warren Greenwood. In Ceresco, 
Fellows D. Pease and William D. Gray had 
located in the summer of 1855, on the north side 
oi the Watonwan, a little above the mouth of 
Perch Creek. Mr. Gray kept a small store of 
Indian ffoods. In October of the same year 
A. B. Barney and D. K. Shaw made claims in 



Ceresco, while Charles Barney at the same 
time settled in the northwest corner of Ver- 
non Township. Other settlers who located 
in Vernon this year were Isreal Wing, James 
Taylor, Marquis L. Plumb, Eobert Marley, 
Zenas Scott, George M. Keenan, Joseph W. 
Darling, John A. Darling and Thos. Doke. 
These settled along the Blue Earth. In Shelby, 
besides Korman W. Jackson, his son Eli N. 
Jackson, son-in-law, Hiram Luddington, and 
Edward Brace, who made claims by Lakes Ida 
and Jackson, a number of people located this 
year along the Blue Earth. Among these were : 
Tobias Miller, John Doke, Wrn. Clark, Sanford 
Allen, Kasper, Geo. J. and Simon HofEman, 
Chas. C. Mack and Jesse Jdack, Eudolph, Jo- 
seph and William Crandall. In the summer of 
1855, Verpucius A. Highland became the first 
settler in Sterling. He and his family drove 
across the country in a covered wagon, from 
Illinois, and located on sections three and four. 
He had brought with him a fine drove of cattle 
and the balance of the summer was largely 
taken up in putting up hay for the coming 
winter. As all hay in those days had to be cut 
with a scA-the and gathered with a hand rake, 
it was not an easy task to provide food enough 
for a herd of cattle to last a long Minnesota 
winter. Mr. Highland had finally got his hay 
all put up in stacks near his cabin. On the 
l-ith of October, the smoke of a big prairie fire 
rose in the southwest in the vicinity of Jackson 
Lake. The wind was blowing a hard gale from 
that direction and the grass was like tinder. 
Soon the hurricane of flame and smoke came 
leaping and bounding across the prairie straight 
for the Highland home and haystacks. Fortu- 
nately between them and the oncoming wave 
of fire was a strip of breaking. This bit of 
plowed land parted the wall of flame and it 
swept swiftly by on either side, lashed to fury 
by the wind, and leaving a trail of black de- 
solation behind. But the grass was so dry and 
abundant that a fire now began working in 
from both sides in the rear of the plowed land, 
and every effort to extinguish it proved futile, 
and in a short time all that remained of the 
stacks of hay, which had cost such labor and 
on which so much depended, were three or four 

ash heaps. After a desperate fight, the cabin 
was saved. 

Mr. Highland made a heroic struggle to save 
his cattle by procuring food for them wherever 
he could, but many of them perished. In those 
days when the vast illimitable prairies were 
covered with a rank, thick herbage, which in the 
many sloughs grew to the height of eight to 
twelve feet, a prairie fire in the fall of the 
year, when all was dry, was most dangerous. 
Driven by the high autumnal winds amid such 
abundant combustible material, nothing could 
stay its fury. With the roar and speed of the 
hurricane it sped over the plains, grand, ma- 
jestic and terrible, like the burning of a thou- 
sand Eomes, and struck terror into the heart 
of the pioneer. Many a poor settler suffered 
from its rage. His fences, his sheds, his stacks 
of hay and grain, and sometimes his little cabin 
home and all, would in a few moments be swept 
away by this besom of destruction, leaving him 
and his family and stock stripped of every- 
thing against the winters cold and hunger. Every 
autumn the smoke of these fires would darken 
the sun, while nightly the sky would be lit by 
their glow. Far off on the distant prairies 
night after night the long seried ranks of shin- 
ing flames could be seen. A beautiful picture, 
when the danger was eliminated, and one that 
haunts the memory of many a pioneer. 

On August 20th, 1855, the election precinct 
of Eice Lake was created comprising all of the 
county lying south of the Le Sueur and east 
of the Maple rivers. Chas. Mansfield, A. W. 
Callen ■ and Joseph L. Alexander were appointed 
its first election judges. On the same date the 
precinct of Watonwan was also formed, with 
Chas. Gilchrist, Orlin J. Westover and S. Titus 
Mills as Election Judges. It had for its boun- 
daries the Maple river on the east, the county 
lines on the south and west, and the Town- 
ship line between 107 and 108 for its northern 

On this same 30th of August occurred the 
second opening of bids for construction of the 
Big Sioux and Mendota road. The largest bid 
was for the construction of a bridge over the 
Blue Earth river between Mankato and South 
Bend, It called for a structure eighty feet long 



by sixteen feet wide, consisting of five spans, 
to be completed by May 1st, 1856. This im- 
portant contract went to S. J. Frazier of St. 
Anthony, who sublet much of it to T. D. War- 
ren of Mankato, and work was started during 
the fall and continued during tlae winter with 
a large force of men. The frame work of the 
bridge was all completed before the spring 
freshet, and the floor and railings put in place 
soon after. This was the first bridge of any 
importance constructed in Blue Earth County 
and was a great convenience to the settlers. It 
cost the government $10,000. 

On the 9th of October, 1855, was held the 
third election in the county. The main ques- 
tion, which concerned Blue Earth County, was 
how to regain the territory, which Le Sueur 
had taken from it tlie previous winter.' The 
majority were of the opinion that P. K. John- 
son was the best man to send to the Legisla- 
ture for the purpose, because of his acquaintance 
at St. Paul and elsewhere through the terri- 
tory at that time. He was accordingly elected 
with this special commission. For County com- 
missioners, Theron Parsons was elected for the 
three year term and A. W. Callen for Babcock's 
unexpired term of one year. Mr. Callen hav- 
ing moved away never qualified, and on April 
7, 1856, William E. Eobinson was appointed to 
fill the vacancy. The board consisted in 1856 
of: Theron Parsons, Chairman, D. C. Evans 
and (after April 7th,) William E. Eobinson. 
The other officers elect were : Sheriff, Francis 
Bunker ; Eegister of Deeds, George H. Marsh ; 
County Treasurer, John 0- A. Marsh ; Judge of 
Probate, Minard Mills ; Surveyor, Basil l\Ioreland. 
At this election Mankato cast 86 votes. South 
Bend 31, Watonwan ?2, Eice Lake 27, making 
a total of 186 votes in the county. On August 
2, 1855, the County Board had received a 
petition signed by Philander Prescott and many 
others asking for the establishment of two vot- 
ing precincts, one at the Upper, and the other 
at the Lower Sioux Agencies. As these pre- 
cincts were beyond the limits of Blue Earth 
Countv the Board doubted its iurisdiction in 
the matter and postponed action. On the 
twenty-seventh of the same month a petition was 
received from twenty-four legal voters of Brown 

County, asking for an election precinct to 
comprise the territory between. Blue Earth Coun- 
ty and the Sioux Eeservation and laying south 
of the Minnesota Eiver. This petition, though 
relating to a matter beyond the county's boun- 
dary, was granted. New Ulm was designated 
as the place at which the election should be 
held and August Kisling, Fredrick Bebberke, 
and Albert Behnke were appointed Judges of 
Election; and Henry Behnke was made Jus- 
tice of the Peace and Ludwig Myer, Constable. 
At the October election both the New Ulm 
and Lower Sioux Agency precincts cast theii* 
ballots for the Territorial and Legislative can- 
didates, which were canvassed among the Blue 
Earth County precincts. There were 45 votes at 
New Ulm and 24 at the Lower Agency. They 
did not vote for any county official. 

The Autumn of 1855 saw the building of 
the two first school houses in the county, one 
at iiiankato and the other at South Bend. Both 
were rude log structures, but they answered the 
purpose in those early days. As there was no 
school tax raised for the purpose, the buildingf? 
were almost wholly erected by voluntary con- 
tributions. John S. Hinckley donated one 
lot and the Mankato Claim Company gave an- 
other for the site, being lots three and four in 
block thirtjr-eight of Mankato. Father Thom- 
son and A. D. Seward took the lead in the 
erection of the building. Some were in favor 
of building a church, which could be used for 
school purposes during the week, but the ma- 
jority favored the construction of a school house, 
which could be used for a church on Sunday. 
All worked with a will and the building was 
completed by the first of November. It was 
constructed of logs hewn on one side, which 
were laid to face inward. Its size was 24 feet 
bv 30 feet. It had a door in the middle of 
the south end and there were two windows on 
its east side and two on its west side. The 
ladies of the Presbyterian church had formed 
that summer an aid society and had collected 
a few dollars from suppers. These were ex- 
pended in buying- window curtains and a stove 
for the new edifice, costing about twentv-five 
dollars. Hardly had the building been com- 
pleted, when it was dedicated by a mass meeting 



to protest against the selling of liquor to In- 
dians. A. D. Seward was chairman, and Henry 
Jackson, secretary. Speeches were made by 
Lewis Branson, Eev. Thomson, General Flet- 
cher, the "Winnebago Agent, and others. Eev. 
Thomson, Theron Parsons, George Maxfield, 
Samuel Kitchen and John S. Hinckley were 
appointed a committee on resolutions. 

It seems that a number of Winnebagoes had 
been to town and, getting drunk, had painted 
the village red. A sober Indian was not a 
desirable person, but a drunken one was a hun- 
dred times worse. Liquor seemed to fire all 
their fiendish propensities. The law was quite 
strict against selling any intoxicants to Indians, 
but there had been some flagrant violations, 
which had stirred the people up. On the mor- 
row after this meeting the people turned out 
en masse and broke up all the liquor shops in 
town and poured the liquors into the streets. 

For a brief period there was law enforcement 
at Mankato, but when the storm of righteous 
indignation was over, poor Lo moistened his 
tongue in fire water as before. The school 
house, soon after the exciting scenes ' of this 
reform were over, was put in charge of L. G. M. 
Fletcher, the first regularly emplo^^ed teacher 
in the county. The district only had $70.00 
in its treasury. With this it hired Mr. Fletcher 
for two months at $35.00 per month, but he 
was so interested in the work that he donated 
his services for an extra month. There were 
thirty-seven scholars enrolled in this first regu- 
larly organized District School of the County. 

The South Bend school house was started 
early in September, with Evan Evans (Pant) 
and William Francis in charge of its construc- 
tion. Through lack of funds it was not com- 
pleted until early in the winter. Like the Man- 
kato building it served for educational and hall 
purposes during the week, and on Sunday it 
answered for a church. This school house was 
situated near the present residence of D. P. 
Davis in South Bend. The first school in 
South Bend had been taught during the sum- 
mer of 1855 by Mrs. Joshua Barnard at her own 

home. A short term was held during the win- 
ter, with Edward Thomas probably as teacher. 
A literary and debating society was organized 
early in the winter at South Bend, which met 
regularly at the school house. D. C. Evans or 
Eev. Eichard Davis usually presided. It was 
a live organization in which every important 
question was discussed, with perhaps more earn- 
estness than learning. But the whole country 
was interested, and came many miles with their 
ox teams, through snow, cold and darkness. 
Preaching services and Sunday schools were 
regularly observed there on the Sabbath. 

Dr. Edward Thomas held singing schools 
there, also, and the deserted village of today 
was then a very live place. In the fall of 1855 

D. C. Evans and W. E. Price erected a saw 
mill at the village, which they began to operate 
on the twenty-third of the following February, to 
the great convenience of the settlers in that 
vicinity. In connection with the saw mill they 
ran one set of burrs for grinding corn. On the 
5th of February 1856 a post office was estab- 
lished at South Bend, with Matthew Thomp- 
son as postmaster. 

In the Judson, or "Eureka" settlement as it 
was then called, Eev. Jenkins while on a visit 
on October 14th, 1855 organized a Congrega- 
tional church with thirteen members at the log 
cabin of John Watkins. Their names were John 

E. Davis and wife, David T. Davis and wife, 
William Jones and wife, David J. Williams and 
wife and daughter, Hannah, John Watkins and 
wife, Owen Eoberts and William C. Williams. 
On February 21st, 1856, Eev. E. Steele Peake, 
missionary for the Minnesota Valley of the 
Episcopal church, conducted the first service 
for that denomination in the county, at the 
Mankato log school house. 

The assessors returned the total personal pro- 
perty of the county for 1855 at $40,000.00. 
The weather was very fine in 1855 until about 
the 18th of December when there was a sud- 
den change to snow and cold and the year closed 
wHh a big blizzard. The balance of the winter 
was quite severe with much snow. 



Claim jumping was one of the great evils of 
pioneer life. No neighborhood was free from it 
and nothing seemed so effective to stir up the 
baser passions of men. Friends were made bit- 
ter enemies. Communities, churches, societies 
of every nature, and even families were disrupted 
by the bitter dissensions engendered. Both the 
country and the villages suffered from the rav- 
ages of this pernicious evil. Mankato was par- 
ticularly troubled by it and titles there were 
unsettled for years. We have already seen how 
the ownership of the old Mankato Claim Com- 
pany began to be disputed as early as 1853 by 
Warren and Van Brunt. Later, rival townsite 
companies were formed, who questioned the old 
company's right to any of the land. Various 
private individuals took possession of any un- 
occupied lots they could find. Years of litiga- 
tion followed in which the old company , for the 
most part were successful, but their victory 
proved a very barren one in a financial way. 
An important step in the final settlement of 
titles at the county seat, occurred on January 
25th, 1856, when Hon. A. G. Chatfield as Judge 
of the District Court entered the townsite for 
tlie old company, under the occupying Claim- 
ant's Act. Under the entry a patent was issued 
en August, 1857, by the government to the 
judge in trust for the occupants of the several 
lots in the townsite. 

The fight against the location of the Winne- 
bagoes in the county was still kept up during 
the winter of 1855-6, and numerously signed 
petitions were sent to the State Legislature to 
induce it to send a memorial to Congress in 
the matter. The settlers who had located upon 
lands within the reservation limits, before the 
coming of the Indians, still clung to their 
claims. All their protests and memorials how- 
ever, were of no avail and some abandoned their 
farms in the fall of 1855, while in the spring of 

1856 all the rest were obliged to vacate their 
homes and move off the reserve, except Isaac 
Andrus and Truman Andrus, who made so vig- 
orous a fight that the officials did not evict them 
until the spring of 1857. Twenty-one home- 
steaders in all were thus driven from their 
claims. Nearly all had comfortable log dwell- 
ings, outbuildings and few acres of land plowed 
and fenced into fields. Soon after their vaca- 
tion the Winnebago chiefs went into occupation 
of these buildings and the squaws planted corn 
in the fields. The government finally paid the 
settlers for their improvements. The Van Brunt 
saw miU was within the reservation, and was 
appropriated for the use of the agency. Mr. 
Van Brunt had died in January, 1856, but his 
heirs were paid for the mill in December, 1858. 
Basil Moreland was the only settler whom the 
government did not settle with. He had located 
in the spring of 1854 on the Blue Earth rap- 
ids, just above the present Eapidan Mill, which 
was considered the most valuable water power in 
the county. He had built a good house, and in 
1856 tendered the government pay for the land. 
This was refused because it was part of the 
Winnebago Agency, and Mr. Moreland evicted 
in the fall of 1856. The government was 
willing to pay him for his improvements, but 
nothing for his land, with its valuable water 
power. Mr. Moreland it is said had been offered 
$25,000.00 for his claim, and while in posses- 
sion of the Indians, the government was offered 
$1,000.00 a year for a thirty year lease of the 
big water power. Hence, Moreland thought it 
very unjust to be deprived of so valuable a pro- 
perty without any compensation, and hence re- 
fused any offer of settlement for his mere im- 
provements. In the fall of 1861 he managed to 
legain possession of his claim in spite of the 
Indians Agent. In 1862 he came very near getting 
a patent for his land. Caleb Smith, the Sec- 



retary of the Interior, had ordered it granted, diana. The plat has one block marked "Rail- 

and the patent had actually been issued and way station grounds," another block is designat- 

sent to the local land office for delivery, but ed 'School house square," while a tract of 12.57 

J. P. Usher, the new Secretary, who had been acres is labeled "Shelbyville Park." Rev. 

1st assistant under Smith, and on the resigna- Powell started a small store on his townsite 

tion of his chief had been appointed his sue- during the summer. Eobert Shannon built a 

cesser January 8th, 1863, recalled it before it log hotel and George Marsh opened the first 

reached Moreland. Moreland, however, remained blacksmith shop there at the same time. A post 

on his claim until a year or two after the de- office was established later in the year with 

parture of the Winnebagoes in 1863. On the Eev. Powell as first post master. The new 

sale of the Winnebago lands in 1864 this tract town prospered well for a few years, and we wiU 

was included, but no one cared to bid much have more to say of it later. A large number 

for it, as all believed Moreland's claim to it of settlers made claims in Shelby during the 

would be held valid. Willard & Barney bought year. Tilton 0. Allen and his cousin Zoeth 

it finally with other land for only $1,212.00 Allen, made claims near Shelbyville on April 

and got the patent for it. Just fifty years after 12th, and during the same month came Albert 

his first entry upon the land, Moreland was M. Stephens, William J. Chamberlain and Ar- 

awarded $2,213.00 by the government in set- del D. Pinkerton. Other settlers of Shelby this 

tlement of his claim, which he had prosecuted year were Horace Kinney, George Quiggle, Lewis 

most of his life. He was then an old man and Hosea S. True, Milton T. Walbridge, Or- 

living in Southern California. lando and Eichard B. Smith, Bennoney Far- 

But to return to the events of 1856. On ley, John L. Samson, William Gregory, Henry 
February 23rd of this year a meeting was held 11. Case, Asa P. Jacobs, Milton Eoss, Francis 
at Mankato to agitate the question of a mail H. Seward, William and George H. Bobbins, 
route between Mankato and Winona, and re- Anthony Eitterbush, Magnus Eice, Noble G. 
solutions were sent to Washington requesting its Eoot, Abbington Parrett, John McCabe, Edmund 
establishment. On February 28th P. K. John- Kingsland, Alexander Kennedy, Chas. P. Hutch- 
son succeeded in having the Legislature pass an ins, Josiah N. Cheney, Eeuben Barrot, Levi 
Act restoring to Blue Earth county the south Calhoon and many others. About the same time 
half of townships 109 in ranges 25 and 26, be- Eev. James Hindman, Hiram Biglow, Chas. 
ing the territory comprised in the present Wheaton, John Kimble, Thomas J. Thorp and 
Jamestown and Lime. The act took efiect the some others settled over the line in Pleasant 
first of the following June and fixed perma- Mound. The year 1856 in fact saw all the de- 
nently the northern Jboundary of the country. sirable claims along the Blue Earth river and 

In October, 1855, Eev. John W. Powell, a Jackson lake in Shelby taken. 
Methodist minister from Shelbyville, Indiana, In the winter of 1854-5 a school teacher, 

located in Blue Earth County, being about the by the name of Murphy, living in New York 

first preacher of that denomination in the set- City advertised in a paper a call for a meeting 

tlement. He was put in charge -of classes at to form a colony to locate on western farms. 

Mankato and South Bend and at Eureka and A number of persons responded to this call and 

Dakota in Nicollet County. Besides minister- an organization formed entitled the "Minnesota 

ing to the scattered flocks of these four com- Settlement Association.'* A. Murphy was elected 

munities, Eev. Powell found time for other mat- president, William Wilde,, secretary, Ezra L. 

ters. Soon after his arrival he made a claim I'erguson, Corresponding secretary and A. A. 

on the west half of section thirty-five, in the Wessels, Treasurer. A fee oif $10.00 was 

present township of Shelby. Early in April, charged each member when Joining. The bene- 

1856, he had- this surveyed and platted by A. fits assured him in return consisted of: cheap 

D. Seward into a Townsite, which he called transportation west; an opportunity to pre-empt 

"Shelbyville," after his old home town in In- 160 acres of the best farm land; one lot in the 

b^^gii^ ;5a«MH'^i?i^ ^^"g°i:.?«"vj_'-.'-?^ 



townsite, which was to be platted in the midst 
ol the new settlement^ which was certain of 
being a big town; and having a well settled com- 
munit}' at once, instead of the isolation inci- 
dent to the ordinary pioneer life. 

Mr. Murphy had organized a similar colony 
before, and therefore had experience, besides 
a natural gift in that direction. During his 
summer vacation he made a trip through the 
west in quest of a suitable location. He 
reported in favor of Southern Minnesota, but 
did not determine upon the particular locality. 
During the winter of 1855-6, it was found that 
Robert Taylor, who had become a member of 
the Association, was but recently returned from 
Southern Minnesota, where he had in 1852 
planted the "Rolling Stone Colony" above Wi- 
nona. He was at once delegated to proceed to 
Southern Minnesota, and spy out the best loca- 
tion for this new colony. He went to the Crow 
iiiver country first and was inclined to take 
the colony there for a time. Then he came to 
Blue Earth County and with the aid of L. G. M. 
Fletcher, who had helped make the survey, 
stlected the lands along the ilaple river and 

around Lura Lake, in Sterling and Mapleton 
Townships, where as yet there were only two or 
t]iree settlers. These were all in Sterling, and 
comprised, besides V. A. Highland, his two 
brothers-in-law, Barnabas W. Simmons and Hor- 
ace M. De Wolf, who were located just north 
of Sterling Center. They were all originally of 
New England stock, and Simmons had located 
first on October 11th, 1851, just across the line 
in Section 33 of Lyra. Mr. De Wolf came to 
Sterling in 1855 and claimed in sections 9 and 
10. In the fall of 1855 a Dr. Hiram Harrington 
had made a claim in section 22 of Sterling and 
put up the logs for his shanty and gone back 
to his old home in Iowa for the winter. He re- 
turned to his claim in the spring and lived there 
for a time. 

Through its advertising the colony had at- 
tracted much attention and its membership was 
drawn from nearly all the northern states though 
the majority were from New York. From a 
list preserved by Gilbert Webster, the last sec- 
retary of the Association, it seems there were 
239 persons entitled to the benefits of the so- 
ciety (see foot note for names). The main 

Minnesota Settlement Association known as the 
Mapleton Colony, which came to Mapleton, Blue 
Earth County, Jlinn., May, 1856. 

The officers were: Robert Taylor, President and 
Pioneer; Wm. Wilde, Secretary. 


C. H. Andrus. 
E. C. Andrus. 
J. D. AUwood. 
A. B. Bunn. 
R. E. Bannon. 
James Barker. 
Thos. Blair. 

J. Bodwell. 
S. Y. Bogart. 
J. S. Bard. 
P. Bodine. 

E. Brown. 

P. H. Behring. 
Thos. Brown. 

F. W. Buckingham. 

D. H. Burleigh. 
J. Belden. 
Geo. Baldwin. 
C. Benny. 

A. W. Birge. 
T. Brown Jr. 
J. Bogga. 
A. Bain. 
John Blair. 

G. W. Colon. 
Ammi. Coy. 
W. Curtis. 

H. L. Conklin. 

W. M. Clinton. 
J. Camack. 
D. H. Carpenter. 
P. M. Curtis. 
H. D. Copley. 
J. B. Crosby. 
J. Cook. 
J. Culver. 
0. Case. 

R. A. Carpenter. 
S. G. Campey. 
H. F. Cook. 
S. J. Camps. 
G. W. Colon. 
J. Canlon. 
J. Corbit. 
A. L. Clough. 
C. H. Gushing. 
G. Conger. 
James Cornell. 
C. Conley. 
J. W. Cracken. 
J. G. Christie. 
R. Canfield. 
R. V. Coy. 
Joseph Dobie. 
John Dawson. 
L. Deming. 

L. Dudley. 

J. H. Dickerman. 

J. Dixon. 

E. Dixon. 

A. C. Doolittle. 

B. Durkee. 

J. H. Dunnell. 
R. Dooley. 
G. W. Ewing. 
J. M. Eibert. 
T. Elliott. 
G. Eagen Jr. 
J. H. Evans. 
E. P. C. Fowler. 
Dan. Foley. 
E. L. Furgeson. 
J. B. Fitzgerald. 
T. W. Planner. 
D. Frisbie. 
D. W. Fox. 
G. P. Fox. 
W. Faber. 
R. Fowles. 
Carlos Fogg. 

C. L. Francis. 
A. D. Foy. 

L. A. Fleming. 
A. T. Fowler. 
Alex. Gregg. 
W. George. 
H. J. Goode. 
J. A. Gibbon. 
A. Galloway. 
Robt. Goodyear. 
Allen Gibson. 

C. W. Goodrich. 

H. P. Gardiner. 

L. G. Hoyt. 

Thos. Hill. 

J. D. Hamm. 

Wm. Howe. 

R. 0. Humphrey. 

R. Hutell. 

J. P. Harrington. 

A. Hollyer. 
V. Hoffman. 
J. E. Harboe. 
J.^. Hamilton. 
Wesley Hindman. 
J. Heald. 

M. B. Haynes. 
Geo. Hart. 
J. Hemperly. 
J. M. Hitchcock. 

B. H. Hunt. 
E. Horton. 
V. Hoffman. 
J. L. Hart. 
S. E. Hicks. 
O. C. Healey. 
R. S. Jones. 
E. Jennings. 
J. Jordan. 

A. P. Jacobs. 
N. Jackman. 
John Johnson. 
E. E. Johnson. 
S. J. Jones. 
W. Jennings. 
R. A. Judd. 


body of the colony left New York about the 
middle of April, 1856. They contracted with 
the railroad to carry them to Dunleith, op- 
posite Dubuque, Iowa, for $11.75 apiece for 
adults and half that price for children. There 
were six carloads of people, and their baggage 
filled six other cars. Dunlieth was then the 
nearest point to Minnesota reached by the rail- 
road. Our colonists crossed the river to Du- 
buque, where a meeting was held to explain 
away some misunderstanding-s, which had risen 
between some of the members and the ofEicers. 
A grocery association was also formed here, 
which purchased $2,000.00 worth of provisions. 
Committees were appointed to secure wagons 
and other farm implements for such of the 
colony as wanted them. Many of the colonists 
especially from Illinois, Indiana and Iowa made 
the trip overland with wagons and stock. The 
main body of the colony, after completing all 
necessary arrangements at Dubuque, embarked 
on the City Belle for St. Paul, and thence to 
Mankato on the Eeveille. The latter was a 
good sized boat for the Minnesota, still it was 
well crowded, since the party numbered over 
300 persons, men, women and children. A St. 
Paul paper of that date states that there 
were 350 adults and 90 children in the party. 
Early on the morning of Monday, the 5th day of 
May 1856, they landed in Mankato, the largest 

company of immigrants, which had arrived at 
one time in the state. Luckily they were not de- 
pendent on the accommodations of the village, 
which were far too limited for such overwhelm- 
ing numbers. They had brought with them sev- 
eral tents, which they pitched along the levee. 
Soon after their arrival one of their number 
named Wall, died, and was buried near the 
river bank below Main street. Like most all the 
rest of the company he was a young man, who 
had come west to seek his fortune. Years later 
the river cut into the bank, exposing his coffin, 
and the remains were removed to the old ceme- 
tery below town. After spending a few days 
awaiting their conveyances our colonists started 
for the promised land, which Mr. Taylor had se- 
lected. They followed the old trail by the site of 
Ft. Le Huillier, but there was a freshet tu the Le 
Sueur river so the teams could not ford it. A 
number of the men crossed in canoes and con- 
tinued their journey on foot carrying their 
bedding and provisions on their backs. Pass- 
ing through Eapidan and Lyra and using the 
cabins of the evicted settlers for stopping places, 
they reached Mr. Highland's home, on the 
south boundary of the reservation, on the sec- 
ond day. They gazed with longing eyes upon 
the beautiful country they passed through, but 
it all belonged to the wards of Uncle Sam. At 
last, however, they had reached their land of 

T. Kragin. 

A. D. H. Kemper. 

Silas Keenan. 

D. B. Kent. 

J. E. Le Cavellier. 

W. H. Leonard. 

T. B. Louder. 

S. Loomis. 

D. Loekwood. 

G. H. Lawrence. 
M. Leonard. 
H. Lee. 
J. W. Lane. 

E. X). Loveland. 

C. A. Lane. 
J. W. Mead. 
A. Murphy. 

D. Meredith. 
James Morris. 
John Morris. 
J. Mitchell. 

J. Mounds. 
J. Malett. 
L. Mathrop. 

F. Y. McNamee. 
Ira Merrill. 
James Monroe. 
A. W. Miner. 

G. H. Moore. 

A. Menzias. 
G. Miller. 
John W. ileek. 
John McCormack. 
H. V. McNeal. 
Wm. Norton. 

B. G. ISfevill. 
J. Odell. 

H. Parker. 
J. Phillips. 
Gilbert D. Pitts. 
W. G. Pike. 
J. Pope. 
John Price. 
L. E. Pinney. 
J. G. Parker. 
G. B. Quigley. 
J. S. Robertson. 
J. Robertson Jr. 

B. F. Read. 

C. Ronald. 

J. M. Rockefeller. 
S. Mc. Reynolds. 
H. N. Rust. 
B. S. Read. 
0. B. Marsh. 
A. Mead. 

C. N. Rockwell. 
J. L. Sanborn. 

A. S. Smith. 
E. Smith. 

J. Sherman. 

D. Stell Jr. 
J. Southwick. 
Fred. Strong. 
H. Stangnett. 
S. S. Saxton. 
J. H. Smith. 
H. G. Smith. 
C. Selden. 

B. H. Seabering. 
J. L. Samson. 
G. 0. Saxton. 

L. Sutherland. 

A. Stevens. 

S. E. Standish. 
J. E. Smith. 
W. D. Stewart. 
W. H. Shelby. 

B. W. Todd. 
Robert Taylor. 
B. Tuesdale. 
Isaac Tabor. 
M. Thompson. 
S. H. Thomas. 

C. E. Tuttle. 
W. H. Tate. 
C. H. Thayer. 
W. R. Targee. 
L. H. Tyler. 
Wm. Twaits. 
Z. C. Tabor. 
J. Tillinghast. 

F. R. Tenny. 
L. Willard. 
J. L. Wilde. 
Wm. Wilde. 
C, C. Watts. 
W. Whitmore. 
H. C. Welsh. 
Gilbert Webster. 
T. H. Whitiker. 
C. A. Williams. 
W. A. Ward. 

G. L. Wentz. 
W. C. Whipple. 
John F. Williams. 
E. L. Wilde. 

H. J. Wakefield. 
J. Wilson. 
B. Wilcox. 
M. Witmer. 
A. A. Weasels. 


Promise. All that fair and fertile region along 
the Maple and about Lake Lura, South of the 
Agency line^ was the rich inheritance they had 
been seeking. Through the aid of L. G. M. Flet- 
cher, who had accompanied them for the pur- 
pose (as he had been on the government sur- 
vey), they blocked out the land into claims of 
160 acres each. Only 65 claims could be found 
having the required amount of timber. Three 
of the head ofEicers were allowed the first pick. 
The rest of the claims were numbered and di- 
vided by lot, but as there were 139 persons pres- 
ent entitled to claims, more than half the tickets 
were blanks. The result was great dissatisfac- 
tion. Many who drew good claims were young 
men without families, whose only purpose was 
speculation, while many heads of families drew 
blanks. A general row followed and much 
claim jumping. Most of the disappointed scat- 
tered, some went into the timber country near 
j\lankato, others crossed the line into Faribault 
County and elsewhere, while quite a number re- 
turned home disgusted. The northwest quarter 
of section seven of Mapleton and the northeast 
quarter of section twelve of Sterling were chosen 
for the townsite, which was surveyed and plat- 
ted July, 1856, by M. B. Haynes, a young civil 
engineer, who was a member of the colony. It 
was named "Mapleton" after the ilaple river. 
The plat was signed by Eobert Taylor, James 
Cornell and John Mund as proprietors. The 
town lots were divided among all the members 
by a drawing. Nothing came of the townsite 
project, and the land was jumped in a short 
time by two enterprising claim hunters. 

In April, 1856, Uriah Payne had located a 
claim in Sections seven and eighteen in Mapleton 
township, probably the first claim taken in that 
town. He then returned to Wisconsin to prepare 
for moving to his new home. There he fell in 
with a colony of settlers from Fond du Lac, who 
were drifting westward in quest of new homes. 
They were Ira Annis, wife and five children and 
]iis sister now (Mrs. J. W. Sprague) , Azra Annis 
and wife, Asa P. Sherman, wife and two child- 
ren, E. B. Hall, wife and one child, Eussell 
Franklin, wife and one child, Charles Durkee 
and Jonathan Holbrook. The company, includ- 
ing Mr. Payne and his three sons, comprised 

25 souls, and were conveyed in six or seven 
covered wagons, all but one, drawn by oxen. As 
the colony had no special destination, Mr. Payne 
piloted them towards his claim on the Maple. At 
Owatonna a halt was made, while a few of the 
men went forward with Mr. Payne in a light 
wagon, drawn by the only span of horses in 
the company, owned by Ira Annis. After view- 
ing the country on the Maple all were well 
pleased with it and returned after their fami- 
lies. The party finally reached the Maple on 
June 20th and settled in Mapleton and Sterling. 
They were soon joined by Joel Holbrook. This 
company observed their first Independence day 
with a celebration at their tent. Guns were fired. 
Captain E. B. Hall delivered an oration, and 
the best dinner possible was served. Emil Bue- 
card and family, also, settled in the present 
town of Mapleton the same summer. 

In the counties of Jackson and Gallia, Ohio, 
there was a large ^^^elsh settlement, which had 
emigrated mostly from Cardiganshire, Wales. 
They were mostly farmers, but their Ohio loca- 
tion was ill adapted for that calling, as it was 
a very rugged and sterile country. 

Iron ore was discovered in. the hills and a 
number of the farmers united into a company 
under the name of "Jefferson Furnace" to 
manufacture iron. In those anti-bellum days 
ihere was little demand for iron, and our farmer 
stock holders saw no dividends, and were becom- 
ing doubtful if they ever should see any of the 
capital they had invested, as the company's in- 
debtedness amounted to $75,000.00. They had 
read Eev. Eichard Davis communications in the 
Welsh ■ periodicals regarding the fertile farm 
lands of Minnesota. Edward Thomas of South 
Bend had lived among them for a time, and his 
personal letters increased their interest in the 
new Welsh settlement in Blue Earth County. 

On October 8th, 1855, a delegation of six per- 
sons arrived at South Bend from Jackson, Ohio, 
to inspect the country. Their names were David 
P. Davis, Sr., John I. Jones, Thomas Jones 
(Cooper), Eichard Morgan, Evan Williams and 
James Morgan. They were greatly pleased with 
the beauty of the land and the fertility of its 
soil. After investing in some lots in South 
"f^?nd for fear they would be aU gone by spring, 



they returned after their families, and to bring 
a favorable report to their neighbors. The re- 
sult was that by the spring of 1856 a large 
number of Welsh people from Jackson and Gal- 
lia Counties were ready to emigrate. They 
started in April, from Portsmouth, Ohio, down 
the Ohio river and thence up the Mississippi to 
St. Paul on the steamer "Granite State."' They 
reached the latter place only a few hours later 
than the Mapleton colony, but were obliged to 
tarry there three or four days before they could 
get a boat up the Minnesota. They finally bar- 
gained with Captain Samuel G. Cabbell to take 
them in his boat, "H. T. Yeatman." The colony 
numbered 121 souls and with their baggage 
made a fair sized load. 

The Yeatman was a stern wheeler, rather 
large for the Minnesota river, and this was her 
first trip on this stream. Though the water was 
high the boat had much difficulty in making 
ihe many sharp curves. Her smoke stacks were 
knocked down by overhanging trees, and her sides 
scratched, so her progress was necessarily slow. 
At last the tired passengers were all landed 
safely at the South Bend levee on Saturday the 
10th of May, 1856, almost one month after 
leaving their Ohio liomes. 

The hospitality of the village in spite of all 
prior preparations was taxed to the limit, to 
accommodate such a crowd. Three or four fam- 
ilies occupied the log school building, and every 
house and shanty was packed to the attic. 
They were a religious people who had not failed 
to observe a single Sabbath on their long and 
weary journey. The first Sunday after their ar- 
rival, an open air meeting was held in a grove 
beside a small pond called "Llyn Tegid." Kev. 
Eichard Davis preached, and the hymns of old 
AVales were sung with much zest and gladness 
in this God's first temple. 

Most of the workmen employed on the govern- 
ment bridge, just completed over the Blue Earth, 
were young fellows from St. Paul and else- 
v/here, who had no intention of taking claims 
in Blue Earth County. Hearing that a b^'g Welsh 
colony was due in South Bend in a few days, 
they concluded that here was a fine opportunity 
for speculation in land. They accordingly scat- 
tered through the country and took possession of 

every desirable tract of land they could find and, 
when the colonists arrived, they asked them 
$300.00 per claim for their right. The Welsh 
■s\'ere anxious to settle in one neighborhood so 
as to secure the religious and social privileges to 
which they had been accustomed. Weeks were 
spent by them tramping over the country look- 
ing for suitable claims, but between the squat- 
ters and the Indians the desirable land had all 
been appropriated. About one fourth of the 
colony at last went to Le Sueur County and 
took claims there in Sharon and Cleveland 
Townships. The squatters at last began to get 
impatient, as they had no thought of even filing 
on their claims, and they sold for whatever 
they could get. Our colonists now settled mostly 
in the vicinity of South Bend and Minneopa 
Creek, and in Cambria Township. Among the 
latter were Dr. David Davis, and his sons Da- 
vid, John and Peter S. Davis, Darid P. Davis, 
Sr., and his sons Daniel, John, David and Eben P. 
Davis, David Price and family, John Walters 
and his sons, John, Stephen, and David Wal- 
ters, and his sons-in-law, William P. Jones and 
Thos. D. Lloyd, and Eichard Morgans and his 
sons, James, Isaac and William Morgans. Among 
those who located in the vicinity of Minneopa 
Creek were : Isaac Woods, and his son Walter A. 
Woods, Evan Williams and his son, William B. 
Williams, Thomas J. Jones, (Cooper) and his 
son David J. Jones, and John I. Jones, and 
his family. 

About July 1st, 1856, Eev. Jenkin Jenkins ar- 
rived and located in Cambria Township, then call- 
ed the Cottonwood Settlement, and took charge 
of the Congregational church. Practically all the 
colonists from Jackson and Gallia Counties, 
Ohio, were Calvinistic Methodists, and on 
July 3rd, a church of that denomination was 
organized in Cambria, at the log cabin of David 
P. Davis, by Eev. Eichard Davis, with about 
22 members. It was called "Horeb" after a 
church to which most of the membership had 
belonged in Jackson. 

On July 7th, 1856 a new election precinct was 
organized comprising the territory now embraced 
in the Townships of Shelby and Pleasant Mound 
and Koble, G. Eoot, James McCannahan and A. 
B. Parrot appointed Judges of Election; A. B. 



Parrot, Justice of the Peace, Wm. A. Clark, 
Constable, and Horton Nelson, Eoad Surpervisor. 
It was named "Shelby" at the suggestion of 
Eev. J. W. Powell after "Shelby, Indiana." 
On July 9th, 1856 the seventh election precinct 
in the county was created, called "Mapleton," 
after the Maple Eiver. It embraced the present 
Townships of Sterling, Mapleton and Danville 
and its first ofEicers were: Judges of Election: 
Vespucius A. Highland, James Cornell and 0. 
E. Marsh, Justices of the Peace, Robert Tay- 
lor and Albert A. We>isells, Constables, John 
Dixon and James Dobin, Road Supervisor, Wm. 
Wildes. The same territory was on the same date 
made into a school district and numbered 5. 

The year 1856 saw the coming of the first set- 
tlers into the present town of Danville. Hector 
Sharp is generally accredited to have been the 
first settler. He located in section 27 in Jlay, 
1856 and a month later came Nicholas J. 
Kremer, who had been living at Wabasha, 
Minn., about a year, and with him came Francis 
and Bernhard Phillips, George Mosser and Mi- 
cheal Schaller. The Phillipses and Mosser were 
from Erie County N. Y., while the Kremers 
were from Fon Du Lac, Wis. They built their 
first cabin in Danville together in June 1856, 
on the Phillips claim in section thirty-four. 
Francis Phillips, Sr., Joined them about the first 
of September, and John Kramer, Sr., and his 
wife and their three sons, Peter, J. P. and John 
arrived in October. All lived in the same cabin 
for a short time. In October came also William 
Larabee and his son, Samuel Larabee and wife 
and four children. During the same summer 
and fall came Isaac Sherman, Nelson Gray, 
Stephen. Kelly, Noadiah W. Towne, Ahijah H. 
and Amos Chambers, John and Josiah Rogers. 
All these located along the Big Cobb river, which 
passed diagonally through the town of Danville, 
and is fringed with a narrow belt of timber. 

On a former page we spoke of Edson Gerry 
m.aking a claim on the Watonwan in the fall of 
1854 in company with George Lamberton, Ed- 
ward Thomson and others. This claim has quite 
a history, a brief outline of which we shall now 

Mr. Gerry was a native of the old Bay state, 
but in 1854 resided at Berlin, Wis. He was a 

music teacher by profession. The claim he took 
in Blue Earth county was the Northwest quar- 
ter of section twenty-six of Garden City, town- 
ship, the site of the present village of that 
name. He put up a log claim shanty near where 
the Baptist Church now stands. Finding there 
were a number of excellent water powers on his 
claim he conceived the idea of founding a city 
thereon and utilizing the water power for mills and 
factories. He also procured to be entered by third 
parties two other quarter sections adjoining on the 
east and south, which he paid for and had con- 
veyed to him later. In the spring of 1855, he 
built a log house on the claim in the Northeast 
quarter of section twenty-six, which had been 
preempted by him in the name of Elizabeth 
Olds, and broke quite a tract of land. This 
sujnmer occurred the first known cyclone in this 
locality. It unroofed his house and uprooted a 
strip of large oak timber across his claim and 
along the Watonwan. As he had used his pre- 
emption right in Wisconsin, Mr. Gerry knew 
he could not hold, or prove up on his original 
claim himself. So in the fall of 1855 he re- 
turned to his Berlin house and procured a mul- 
atto named, Nelson W. Askins, a musical ac- 
quaintance of his at Berlin, to go with him to 
Garden City and make the necessary filing and 
payment to secure a patent for the land, and 
then on January 23, 1856 had Askins convey the 
title to Gerry's brother-in-law. Rev. Anthony 
Case, a Baptist minister, then of Fox Lake, 

At this time there resided at Boston, Mass., 
one Samuel M. Folsom, who had been engaged 
in a large mercantile business, but had re- 
cently failed. His stock was sold by the trus- 
tee to one Farnsworth, who was friendly to 
Folsom, and the latter managed thus to save 
a few thousand dollars from the wreck of his 
fortune. Early in 1856 Mr. Gerry happened 
on one of his trips to meet Folsom, who pre- 
tended to be quite a capitalist and manufac- 
turer. The two men soon entered into a ver- 
bal agreement, whereby Gerry was to cause to 
be deeded to Folsom a three fifth interest in his 
townsite on the AVatonwan in consideration of the 
latter putting in several thousand dollars capital 
for its development. Accordingly Mr. Folson 



took possession of the claim early in June 1856, 
and on the 15th of that month had Mr. A. D. 
Seward survey and plat the land into a townsite, 
under the name "Fremont." This plat was 
signed by Anthony Case as nominally the sole 

Hardly had the town been platted when 
Benjamin H. Seabujy brought a few groceries 
in a covered wagon and opened the first store 
there in a tent. In a few days he sold out to 
Josiah N. Cheney, Lyman C. Harrington and 
Emery Z. Harrington, who were originally from 
the same place in Vermont, and had been in the 
mercantile business together at Manitowac, Wis. 
This business they had just disposed of be- 
fore coming to Fremont in June 1856. Cheney 
stayed in charge of the new store, while the 
Plarringtons returned to Manitowac to bring 
the families and goods to their new home on 
the Watonwan. Lyman C. Harrington and his 
wife's brother, William H. Watts, drove across 
the country in a wagon from Manitowac to 
Fiemont, where Harrington and Cheney en- 
gaged in business for a number of years. The 
Harringtons were brothers of Dr. Harrington of 
Mankato, and L. C. Harrington and Cheney 
ivere brothers-in-law. 

About the middle of September Mr. Folsom 
began the construction of a mill dam across 
the Watonwan, but did not put up the mill 
until the next year. In the fall of 1856 Eri P. 
Evans, a Boston acquaintanije of Folsom, whom 
the latter induced to join him in this Western 
enterprise, removed to the new town and at once 
began to take active part in its development. He 
started a small store, had a postofEice created 
at Fremont, and himself appointed as its first 
postmaster. The same fall witnessed the build- 
ing of another mill dam on land adjoining the 
Townsite on the west. John Dilley, George W. 
Atwell and Jehiel Aber were the parties inter- 
ested in this enterprise. Others who located in 
Fremont in 1856 were Amos Warner, J. H. 
Preston, John B. Skinner, Jeduthan P. and Al- 
bert M. Kendall, James G. Thompson and others 
whose names we did not learn. 

The first religious service in the present town 
of Garden City was conducted in the log cabin 
of Edward Thompson, early in the spring, of 

1856, by a Methodist preacher from Kasota, 
named Eev. Theophilus Drew. This cabin of 
Mr. Thompson was built by him on his claim in 
1854 and was close by the village of Fremont. It 
was known in the early day as the "Boarding 
House" where many young unmarried men made 
their home. It was prominent in all the early 
history of the village and community. A Sabbath 
school was organized at this house early ia the 
fall of this year with fifteen scholars. E. P. 
Evans was its energetic superintendent. In Oc- 
tober Eev. Case paid the townsite a visit, and 
during his stay of three or four weeks held regu- 
lar preaching services. The same fall Eev. B. 
Y. Coffin preached to a few settlers at the cabin 
of S. T. Mills. The first move in an educational 
way was a petition to the County Commissioners 
for a school district, which was granted on Oc- 
tober 20, 1856, to embrace the following terri- 
tory: Commencing at the northwest corner of 
section 18, 107, 28, thence east six miles, thence 
south four miles, thence west six miles, thence 
north four miles. It was designated No. 10. 
In the fall of 1856 the first school was taught 
by Thaddeus Wright in the cabin of Edson 
Gerry. About this time a school meeting was 
held at the house of J. C. Thompson, when it was 
determined to erect a log school house in the vil- 
lage. This was finished during the winter, 
and the first school taught in it by John S. 

The first saw mill on the Watonwan was 
built in the fall of 1856 by Neri P. Hoxie and 
Erastus Conklin, on the site afterwards occupied 
by the Butterfield Mill. James H. Greenwood 
and J. Williston Greenwood helped to construct 
and operate this mill. Beside it the following 
summer was built the first bridge over the Wa- 
tonwan. Other settlers of Watonwan Township 
(now Garden City) in 1856 were Frank and 
Eeuben H. Thurston, Patrick Eooney, James 
Glynn, and many others. 

At the general election, held on October 14, 
1856, Blue Earth County cast 227 votes, divid- 
ed among the seven precincts as follows: Man- 
kato 113, South Bend 41, Watonwan 13, Ma- 
pleton 6, Eice Lake 19, Shelby 13, Judson 22. 
Politically the county went Eepublican for the 
first time in its history by a small majority. 


Mankato and Eice Lake remained strongly 
Democratic, but all the other precincts cast al- 
most an unanimous Free Soil vote. Dr. P. P. 
Humphrey, (Republican) of Kasota received 37 
majority for Senator, and S. Kenworthy, of 
Le Sueur, and E. Iv. Bangs, of South Bend, 
(both Eepublicans) received fair majorities for 
the Legislature, but as the district included a 
number of other counties they failed of elec- 
tion. A. D. Seward, (Eep) won as County Trea- 
surer over J. Q. A. Marsh (Dem) by only six 
votes, while E. Howe (Eep) beat L. Branson 
(Dem) for District Attorney by only two votes. 
William Sargent (Dem) for Eegister of Deeds, 
E. D. Bruner (Dem) Probate Judge, Francis 
Bunker (Dem) Sheriff, George W. Cum- 
mings (Dem) Clerk of Court, were appar- 
ently elected without opposition. Mathew Thomp- 
son (Dem) of South Bend and Eobert Patter- 
son (Eep) of Judson were chosen County Com- 

Thus far the County possessed no jail or 
county building of any sort. Offices were rent- 
ed at Mankato in such vacant buildings as 
could be found. The townsite proprietors had 
donated on their plat an entire block for such 
buildings, but as yet it Avas covered by its 
original forest. We have seen how the County 
Commissioners as early as March 6th, 1854, had 
designated this block 50 of Mankato as the 
location of the future court house by resolution, 
but no move looking to the actual use of the 
spot was made until July 10th 1856, when a 
resolution was passed by the Board to erect a 
court house and jail. At their meeting of Oc- 
tober 21st, 1856, it was determined to abandon 
the building of the court house '^because of the 
lateness of the season," but, because of "ur- 
gent necessity," it was decided to proceed with 
the building of a jail at once according to the 
specifications given. The contract was, on ITo- 
vomber 1st, 1856, let to Francis Bunker, the 
Sheriff, for $900.00, and this first county build- 
ing was duly completed and accepted by the 
board on January 7th, 1857. The jail was 12-20 
feet on the inside and 10 feet high. It was built 
of hardwood timber, hewed eight inches square, 
mth floor and ceiling of three inch oak plank. 
It was divided into two cells by a three inch oak 

plank partition. A door of the same material 
opened into a hall 4x6 feet, and a door from 
this hall led to each cell. At the farther end 
01 each cell was a small iron grated window and 
a grated window was put into the partition. In 
front of the jail proper ^Aas erected a frame 
building 12x14 feet and of same height as jail. 
This building was plastered and painted and di- 
vided into three rooms, a bed room, pantry 
and sitting room and kitchen combined for use 
of the jailer. 

The valuation of the personal property in 
the county as returned by the assessors in June, 
1856, was $141,377.50 and the tax rate was 
fixed at 214 per cent. 

We have already noted how the various com- 
munities were beginning to bestir themselves 
along educational and religious lines. On April 
8th, 1856 School District No. 4 was created 
embracing the present toM'ns of Judson, Cam- 
bria and Butternut Valley. July 9th of the 
same year the territory covered by the present 
towns of Sterling, Mapleton and Danville, was 
set apart as School District No. 5. On October 
6 the present town of Cambria was divided 
into three School Districts, two of them num- 
bered six and seven, and the other left undesig- 
nated. On the same date the west half of Lime 
was made into District No. 8, and the South 
two miles of Judson and the north two miles 
of Garden City into District No. 9. On October 
20th v/e saw the organization of the Fremont or 
Garden City District as No. 10, and on the 
same date School District No. 11 (Shelbyville) 
was created, with the following boundaries :- 
commencing at the northeast corner of section 
thirteen of Shelby Township, thence west six 
miles, thence south four miles, thence east six 
miles, thence north four miles. Mankato and 
South Bend were the only points in the county in 
which schools were actually kept in 1856 as far 
as known. 

On December 10th, 1856, Judson Townsite 
was platted by Eobert Patterson and John 
Goodwin, according to a survey made by An- 
thony D. ]\rcSweeny. The proprietors were 
Baptists, and named their prospective city, as 
well as the township, after the missionary hero 
of their church. Before the close of 1856 set- 



tlements had been started in every township in 
the county, where settlers were permitted. The 
big Indian reservation was, however, forbidden 
territory, into which no white man could enter. 
The Germans continued to come in large num- 
bers into the village and township of Mankato 
and their vicinity. Among the number were: 
Stephen Lamm, Henry Himmelman, Wm. and 
Jacob Bierbauer, Mathias Ulman, Gottlieb 
Schmidt, Henry Guth, J. William Hoer, George 
Peter Hoerr, H. L. Gude, John A. Arnold, 
Henry Mohr, Jacob PfafE, Frederick Heinze 
and his sons : Theodore, Eobert G., Charles 
A., Frederick E., and Ferdinand G., Philip 
Mueller, John Eausch and his sons Jacob and 
Joseph C, Henry Schwarble, Anton Schipple, 
Joseph Krause, Jacob Traub, Henry Heinzman, 
Ur. A. G. Dornberg and a host of others. Besides 
the prominent Germans mentioned the village of 
Mankato added to its citizens this year a number 
of men, who were destined to play a very impor- 
tant part in its future development among 
whom were : John A. Willard, Aaron K. Diikes, 
John J. Shaubut, Father Y. Sommerisen, Dr. 
Wm. E. McMahan, Isaac Marks, (who located 
at the Agency the year before, but this year 
opened a store at Mankato) Dr. Wm. F. Lewis, 
Dr. M. 0. Wickersham, Clinton B. Hensley (the 
first editor). Dr. Eeuben J. Sibley, James E. 
Tinkcom, Daniel H. Tyner and William Irving. 
South Bend, also, received an important acces- 
sion this year, in the firm of Bxstrom and 
Brown from La Crosse. The Tivoli neighborhood, 
on the line between Mankato and Le Eay Town- 
sliips, began to be settled this year. In April, 
1856, came Moses 0. Bennett and his brother- 
in-law, Hollis Whitney, from Kenosha, Wis. Mr. 
Bennett was a man above the average in ability 
and force of character. He also was the father 
of a large family of grown up sons and daugh- 
ters, most of whom settled in the same neighbor- 
hood. Mr. and Mrs. Bennett removed to their 
new home in June, and with them came their 
son-in-low. Captain Euegg and wife. Their sons 
Nathan and George Bennett came by team across 
the country. In October of the same year ar- 
rived their other children; Edward, Charles, 
Lewis, Levi, Caroline (Mrs. Harvey) and Adna 
(Mrs. Ciarpenter). With them also came Hollis 

Whitney and family, Henry B. Lane, wife and 
mother, David Davis and wife and son, Thomas E. 
Davis, and Mr. and Mrs. George Corp and three 
children. These journeyed from Wisconsin in 
seven covered wagons, spending five weeks on the 
road. Mr. Corp, being a blacksmith, located at 
Winnebago Agency, but the rest settled in the vi- 
cinity of Tivoli. Mr. Bennett was soon impressed 
with the need of a saw mill in his new forest 
home, and concluded to erect one as soon as 
possible. He accordingly began the construction 
of a dam on the Le Sueur that fall. About the 
same time came Captain X. W. Dickinson and 
family and located on Hoosier Lake in Mankato 

Another important acquisition to this neigh- 
borhood was the Burgess family, who arrived in 
the fall of this same year and settled just 
across the line in Le Eay. John F. Burgess was 
a man of ability and character and had a large 
family of grown up children, who made claims 
in the same vicinity. He was a member of the 
Christian church and his son, William Burgess, 
often preached for that denomination. During 
the summer of 1856, Eev. Elias Clark, a young 
Congregational minister from Berkshire County, 
ilass., took up a claim near Tivoli. He had in- 
tended to start a Congregational church at 
Mankato, but found the field occupied by Father 
Thomson, a Presbyterian (the Home Mission- 
ary Society of both churches then being united). 
The Bennetts and their many relatives and neigh- 
bors in the Tivoli neighborhood belonged to the 
Congregational faith, having come originally 
from near Oberlin, Ohio, and Eev. Clark might 
have been of service to this new community, 
but very unwisely he at once incurred the en- 
mity of Mr. Bennett and his family, by jumping 
a claim the old gentleman was trying to hold 
for one of his boys, then on the way from Wis- 
consin. After a few months Eev. Clark de- 
parted for a new field, but kept his claim for 
laany years. Besides the Burgess, Davis and 
Lane families, the country now embraced in the 
township of Le Eay saw a number of worthy 
people locate within its border. Among these 
were: George A. and Michael Beiries, Alexander 
and James Doughlass, Michael D. McNamara, 
William Morris, George Chapman, Eobert Has- 



lip, Alyin P. Reynolds, August Glockzin, Con- 
rad Schogel, Wm. Gilfillan, Patrick Madigan, 
Joseph Schlingerman, George P. Lill and many 
others, whose names we have not learned, or 
who only stayed a few months. Jamestown, 
also had a large influx of settlers during this 
same year. It is claimed that John Heron 
was the first settler in this township locating in 
the fall of 1855, near Lake Wita. Others say 
Enoch G. Burkhurst and Henry "W. Hodges were 
the first and that they came in 1S.").J. All three 
families must have come in 1855 or at least very 
early in 1856, but Heron seems to have located 
in Lime. On May 16th 1856 the families of 
Albert A^olk, Charles Doran and Lawrence 
Bryne took claims in the vicinity of Lake Wash- 
ington. The same year came the families of Law- 
rence, Patrick and Margaret Smith. In Sep- 
tember came Alvin P. Davies and family. Oth- 
ers who settled in Jamestown this year were: 
James P. Ballatine, a school teacher after whom 
Lake Ballantine was named, Patrick Mullen, 
Timothy, Thomas, John and Michael Murtaugh, 
Bowater Summer, Hiram Wentworth, Solon 
Webster, James P. Westlake, John Spencer, 
Abner Shearer, John and Owen ]\Ieigen, Pat- 
rick McGrath, Dennis L. Maher, Andrew C. 
Powble and Paul Pasnacht. About the same 
time Samuel Kerlinger and i\Iicliael B. Parrel 
with their families made their homes in the 
same locality. 

In fact, there ^-as hardly a claim in or near 
the timber in Blue Earth county, outside of the 
Indian Agency, which by the end of 1856, had 
not been taken by some settler. 

The year 1856 had been fairly good for steam- 
boat trafl'ic on the Minnesota. There had been 
207 arrivals from that river at the St. Paul 
levee, an increase of ninty-eight over the pre- 
vious year. The boats engaged were the Equator, 
Reveille, Globe, Wave, Minnesota, Clarion, Time 
and Tide, Berlin and H. T. Yeatman. These 
boats made Mankato on the majority of their 
trips and many went as far as Ft. Eidgely and 
some to Yellow Medicine. The transportation of 
goods and supplies by the gn\-ernment to the 
Indian Agencies and Port Ridgely had greatly 
stimulated the steamboat business on the ilinne- 
Bota. This increase of trade and traveling facil- 

ities, together with the money brought into 
the country for payment of annuities and pur- 
chase of furs were about the only benefits to 
the settlers from their Indian neighbors, while 
the disadvantages were many. 

The winter of 1856-7 was a memorable one 
in the history of the country, and the impression 
its rigors made upon the settlers of Minnesota, 
then poorly sheltered, poorly clothed, and poorly 
fed, has not been entirely effaced to this day. 
The winter of 1855-6 had been quite long and 
severe, but it fell far short in length, depth of 
snow, intensity of cold, and frequency of storms, 
to this its successor. It began in the latter part 
of October. On December 1st, 1856, one of the 
"svorst snow storms ever known in our north- 
west set in, and continued without any abate- 
ment for three days and nights, until the 
ground was covered to the depth of two feet 
or more, on an average. ^Vfter this, one snow 
storm followed another in quick succession, while 
the blizzards filled the time between. The snow 
lay piled in mountain heaps; many of the big 
drifts being fifteen to twenty feet in depth. The 
snow and cold continued through all of April. 
Even on May 9th, there was a hard snow storm 
and the cold so great that sun dogs appeared. 
During all of May and paiily into June the 
fnow clung to some hillsides facing north, and 
even in July remains of huge drifts were found 
in deep, wooded glens, secluded from the sun. 
No wonder the settlers thought the Minnesota 
winters were long and cold, and that their 
dread fell upon the whole country. 

On January 6th, 1857, the election precinct 
of Butternut Valley was created, comprising 
the present towns of Butternut Valley and Cam- 

Since July 1st, 1856, a mail route had been 
established between Port Snelling and Sioux 
City, and a contract to carry a bi-weekly mail 
between the two points made with George H. 
and John Q. A. Marsh of Mankato and J. W. 
Babcock of Kasota. Hoxie Rathburn one of the 
first settlers at Mankato, was employed by them 
for the hard and dangerous duty of mail carrier. 
About Christmas 1856 he was overtaken by one 
of the blizzards of this terrible winter and 
perished near the Des Moines in Jackson County. 



Mail service over these inhospitable plains had 
to be suspended the balance of the year. The 
mail between Mankato and South Bend and 
St. Paul had been increased to a tri-weekly ser- 
vice;, but the storms of this winter interfered 
gTeatly with its regularity. 

Early in 1857, the question of a mail route 
between Mankato and New Ulm began to be 
agitated, and the Legislature was induced to 
memoralize Congress to that effect in February. 




A terrible winter and an extremely late, cold 
spring were not the only evils in tlie annals of 
our county, which characterized the year 1857. 
Its months of March and April gave the settlers 
their first genuine Indian scare and brought 
them in close touch with the horrors of an 
Indian massacre. 

In the Winter of 1853-4 a Sisseton subchief 
named, Sintomnidutah (Eed-all-over) with his 
mother, wife and two or three children had been 
foully murdered by a disreputable white whisky 
trader named Henry Lott, a few miles north of 
Algona, Iowa. Lott and his son, who had partic- 
ipated in the bloody affair, fled to California, 
and were never punished. Whether this Sin- 
tomnidutah was the same chief noted in con- 
nection with early settlement of JMankato may 
be doubted, but there is strong ground to believe 
that he was. His name and the name of his 
son, Joshpadutah (usually called "Josh") are 
the same. The description given in each case 
of the chief's personal appearance and character, 
tdly very well. Each is spoken of as a large 
stately Indian of commanding presence, possessed 
of a bold aggressive spirit and much opposed to 
the coming of the Whi'te men upon his hunting 
grounds, so much that he was nicknamed "The 
Il'ater of the Paleface." The fact, also, that the 
Jlankato chief and his hand claimed northwest- 
ern Iowa and southwestern Minnesota as their 
special hunting groTinds, and the tradition that 
the last known of the chief Ijy the whites was, 
that he was going into Iowa to hunt, as well 
as his sudden disappearence, add to the plausi- 
bility of his identity with the victim of Lott's 

Attached to Sintomnidutah's wild band in a 
way was a renegade subchief of the Wahpekutas, 
named Inkpadutah (Eed End). The latter, with 
two or three companions of lUce desperate charac- 
ter, had been expelled from their native band, who 

lived on the Cannon Eiver, for the murder of 
their chief. The fugitives first went to A'ermil- 
lion river in South Dakota, but later seemed to 
Iiavc joined themselves nioi-e or less to Sintom- 
nidutah's band. Ties of marriage and, some say 
of blood, existed between them. After the chief's 
death Inkpadutah seems to have aspired to the 
chieftainship, and a few of the most lawless of 
the band joined themselves to him. The Indians 
v\'ere very angry at the murder of ■ their chief, 
and did not believe the whites made much effort 
to apprehend the murderer. Inlqjadutah, being 
naturally of an ugly, revengeful disposition, was 
especially bitter, and his followers shared his 
■\enom. The rapid appropriation of their hunt- 
ing grounds by the whites was another cause 
of their hate. During the summer of 1856 six 
or seven families, who had mostly come original- 
ly from Howard County Ind., settled on Lake 
Okoboji, the most southerly of the group of 
bikes usually called "Spirit Lake," from the 
largest of their number. About the same time 
a townsite company from Eed Wing, Minn., 
laid out ,1 town on the lake and built thereon 
a log trading post, which was in charge of three 
or four young men. The same summer another 
small group of settlers located on the Des 
Moines, in the vicinity of the present village of 
Jackson, Minnesota : and William and George 
Wood had laid out a townsite in their midst, 
and opened a store there and were enjoying a 
good trade, especially with the Indians. Both 
colonies were very remotely situated from other 
uhite settlements, and were an invasion into 
tlie ven' heart of Inkpadutah's hunting grounds. 
It is said that Eed End with his band were 
camped in the fall of 1856 for some time near 
;\Iinneopa Falls, and that they went thence to- 
vrard the Sioux City countrv. Brutish and l>lood 
thirsty by nature, and tlieir innate ugliness 
inflamed by the circumstances just mentioned 




they were ripe for mischief. The terrible winter 
had driven most of the game from the coun- 
try and hunting was almost impossible. Their 
evil tempers thus made more desperate by cold 
and famine, it needed but a small excuse to kill 
and plunder the hated paleface, whom they 
imagined were the ca.use of their woes. 

They reached the Okoboji settlement on the 
7th of March 1857 and the next day the trouble 
occurred. Just how it started, perhaps will 
never be known, but the Indians claimed it 
arose from an attempt to steal some hay from a 
settler for their ponies, and that in the quarrel 
the settler was shot. Having a taste of blood the 
savages, like wild beasts, thirsted for more. The 
settlers were in their several cabins, scattered 
some distance apart, in the timber about the 
lakes, and had no suspicion of danger. There were 
only twelve to thirteen warriors in Inkpadutah's 
band at this time and if the settlers had re- 
ceived warning, so they could mass their force 
or been on their guard, they might have defend- 
ed themselves and families with ease. But as 
it happened the Indians went to each cabin in 
force and pretended to be friendly. The fact 
that they had guns roused no suspicion, as 
they always carried them. Taking the man 
wholly off his guard they would shoot him first 
and then butcher the women and children at 
their leisure. Any person, who attempted to 
go from one house to another, was shot from 
ambush. By this treacherous means on the 8th 
and 9th of March the red fiends slaughtered 
the entire settlement on Lake Okoboji, men, 
women, and children, except two or three of the 
men, who happened to be away after provisions, 
and three young women, Miss Abbie Gardner, 
Mrs. Alvin Noble and Mrs. Joseph Thacher, 
whom they carried oif as captives. In all thirty- 
three persons were butchered at Lake Okoboji. 
After spending two or three days and nights 
in dancing, feasting and all manner of wild or- 
gies, the murderers gathered such plunder as 
they wished from the cabins and, loading the 
three captives, the squaws and the ponies there- 
with, they moved northward. On the banks of 
Spirit Lake proper, on March 13th, they came 
upon the cabin of a young couple named Marble, 
who had located there the fall before. Three or 

four of the Indians went to -the cabin and pre- 
tended to be friendly, until the proper opportuni- 
ty came, when they shot Mr. Marble and carried 
away his wife as their fourth captive. Thence 
they proceeded to Heron Lake, Minnesota. 

The terrible tragedy at Lake Okoboji was 
soon discovered by Morris Markham, a young 
trapper, who immediately carried the news to 
Springfield. The settlers there gathered at the 
log house of one J. Thomas for mutual pro- 
tection, and on March 18th dispatched two 
young men, Joseph B. ChefEins, whose home 
had been at Mankato, and Henry Tretts, to 
Port Eidgely for help, where they arrived the 
next morning. Captain Bernard B. Bee with 
forty-eight men were detailed at once to go to 
the scene of trouble. By noon they were 
ready to start. Joseph La Fromboise went as 
guide, and Judge Flandreau, then Sioux Agent, 
and Philander Prescott volunteered to accom- 
pany the expedition. The snow lay upon the 
ground in a great mass, covering it to a depth 
of two or three feet on the plains and ten to 
fifteen feet in the hollows, and it was beginning 
to get soft. Had the soldiers been then equipped 
and trained for Indian fight"ing, they might 
have made a bee line over the prairie to Spring- 
field and reached there easily in two days, fol- 
lowing the tracks of the messengers. But heav- 
ily accoutred as they were, and obliged to 
carry their ammunition and baggage in cumber- 
some wagon trains, it was wholly impracticable. 
Hence they were obliged to follow the only tra- 
veled road, which led down the Minnesota to 
South Bend. They reached the latter place on 
Saturday night, March 21st, and spent the 
next day there resting and gathering supplies. 
Thence they proceeded by way of Lake Crystal 
and by the evening of the 24th reached Slocum's 
home on the Watonwan. Here all semblance 
of a track ended, and -a few rods beyond was an 
immense snow bank, which it took the entire 
force all of the next day to cut through. 

In the meantime Inlcpadutah sent two spies 
to Springfield from his camp on Heron Lake. 
They found the Wood boys at their store, heed- 
less of danger as they gave no credit to Mr. 
Markham's story. They sold the two spies a large 
quantity of ammunition against the protest of 



the settlers, at whose fears they laughed. The 
settlers eontiinied to congregate at the Thom- 
as cabin, except one Josiah Stewart, who with 
his family had returned to their own cabin. On 
March 26th, Inkpadutah and his bloody band 
appeared at the Springfield settlement. They 
enticed William and George Wood out of their 
store, and treacherously shot them both, and 
then plundered and burned the store. 

Under pretense of wanting to buy a hog, they 
induced Mr. Stewart to walk out of his cabin 
into an ambush where he was killed and then 
murdered the wife and children, except one boy, 
who managed to hide. The settlers gathered at 
the Thomas house were eagerly looking every 
moment for the return of the messengers with 
the soldiers from Fort Eidgely. Little Willie 
Thomas, ten years of age, saw a man coming 
down the road, whom he took to be Henry Tretts, 
and he ran to the house saying Henry was com- 
ing. The people rushed out to meet him. It 
proved to be a ruse to get the settlers out of 
the house. An Indian dressed as a white man, 
pretended to be coming down the road. As soon 
as the whites were fairly outside the door a 
volley from a dozen Indian rifles, from behind 
the neighboring trees, was poured into them. 
Little Willie fell dead, but the rest all got back 
into the house and barricaded the door. It was then 
found that Mr. Thomas had been shot in the 
wrist, David Carver in the side, and Miss 
Swanger in the shoulder. The savages kept 
shooting at the house, and the whites fired back 
from port holes made between the logs. The fight 
continued until night, when the Indians gave 
up the battle and returned, loaded with booty 
from the store, to their camp at Heron Lake. 
In all seven persons had been killed and three 
wounded at the Springfield settlement. 

The very day this attack occurred Captain 
Bee and his command left Mr. Slocum's residence, 
in Lincoln Township. After the most toilsome 
march, cutting their way through the deep snow, 
and constantly having to extricate their teams 
from the drifts, wet to the skin from the melting 
snow during the day, their clothes frozen stiff 
about them at night, they arrived on the night 
of the third day, at a point on the Des Moines 
eight miles north of Springfield. Here a half 

breed from Traverse Des Sioux, named Joe 
Coursalle, had a small trading post. He told 
them that Inkpadutah had wiped out the settle- 
ments at both Spirit Lake and Springfield, and 
that he was then camped at Heron Lake, hav- 
ing in his possession four women captives, a 
large number of horses, and a great quantity 
of plunder. Early next morning Lieut. Mur- 
ray with 23 men, mounted on all the horses and 
mules available, were dispatched ia pursuit of the 
murderers. They found the camp and a large 
amount of booty, but the imps of the evil one 
had fled, dragging with them the poor captives. 
The soldiers made no effort at further pursuit, 
either because they were tired out and thought 
further chase would be useless, or because they 
were afraid to encounter so desperate a foe. 
After returning to the main command, Lieut. 
Murray was dispatched, on March 30th, with a 
mounted detachment towards Spirit Lake, to 
scout for Indians and bury the dead in that set- 
tlement, while Capt. Bee, with the rest of his 
command, proceeded to Springfield. 

The news of these terrible massacres spread 
like fire through all the settlements of southern 
Minnesota and northern Iowa and, greatly aug- 
menting in terribleness as it went, created a 
panic of fear everywhere. There were thousands 
of Sioux Indians then in this section of our 
territory, and bands of them were encamped in 
almost every precinct of Blue Earth county. 
In the wild excitement, which prevailed, every- 
one of these were under suspicion, though in 
fact wholly innocent and even ignorant of any 
hostility whatever. A mile or two northeast of 
Madelia, almost touching the western line of 
Blue Earth County, are a group of small lakes 
with some timber. Here five or six Indian fam- 
ilies were camped, engaged in fishing, oblivious 
of any hostile intention, near a cabin occupied 
by Theodore Leisch and Philip Schaffer. In the 
same grove a little to the north lived Mr. Bisier 
and family and north of him Mr. Boechler and 
family. A few more settlers lived, also, in the 
near vicinity. Hearing of the massacre these 
people became uneasy at the mere presence of 
Indians, and to their heated imagination every 
move these red neighbors made was sus- 
picious. At last one or two families conclud- 



ed to take refuge at the home of Isaac Slocum, 
whose cabin was somewhat larger than the ordi- 
nary, and had a group of log buildings about it, 
consisting of a blacksmith shop, granary and 
barns. It was: the usual stopping place on the 
road between Springfield and Mankato, and 
hence was the place where news from the outside 
world and especially from the seat of trouble, 
would be first heard. This movement was a sig- 
nal for a stampede of all settlers around these 
lakes, and along the Watonwan near Madelia, 
then called "Wacapa." Most of these gathered 
at Slocum's house and each had a tale of dark 
suspicion against the savages camped by the 
lakes. A stockade of logs was built around 
the Slocum house and guard kept. 

Fortunately a couple of sleighs, loaded with 
groceries and provisions for the Wood Bros.' 
store at Jackson, had got stuck in a snow bank 
near Slocum-'s house shortly before the Indian 
trouble, and were still stored at this hospital 
home. These were appropriated by the settlers 
and, with the beeves killed, kept them from hun- 

On April 9th Joseph Cheffins arrived on his 
way to Mankato from Jackson^ whence he had 
accompanied the military. Fresh from the 
scenes of the massacre, his vivid description of 
the horrors he had just witnessed at Jackson 
and Okoboji did not tend to quiet the nerves 
of the settlers. Excited by their fears they 
gave exaggerated accounts of the conduct of 
the Indians in their vicinity, which showed 
conclusively, as they thought, that mischief 
was brewing and that an attack might be 
expected from hundreds of savages any moment. 
A most urgent appeal for immediate help was 
dispatched to Mankato by Mr. Cheffins, which 
was delivered the following night. There was 
great excitement at the county seat on Mr. 
Cheffins arrival. It was the first real account 
of the awful tragedy, which had reached our 
county, and its extent and the details of its 
horrors told by an eye witness created uni- 
versal fear and consternation. A large dinner 
bell, which hung in a frame over the Mankato 
House, was rung as for fire to call the people 
together. A mass meeting was hastily convened 
at the log school house, where an anxious 

throng of people soon gathered. Terror and 
excitement ran high, and men, women, and 
children came rushing to hear the latest news. 
Mr. Cheffins was the center of interest and he 
was put under oath by John A. Willard, as 
Notary Public, and testified in detail regarding 
the massacres at Springfield and Spirit Lake, 
and told how the settlers around Madelia had 
been driven from their homes by the hostile 
demonstrations of large bands of Indians in 
that vicinity. That a massacre was likely to 
occur any day. That the settlers were mostly 
gathered at Mr. Slocum's house and were beg- 
ging for help as the savages outnumbered them 
ten to one, and were well armed. Speeches 
were made, and fifty to sixty persons volun- 
teered to go at once to the defense of the 
Watonwan settlers. These volunteers agreed to 
report at eight o'clock next morning at the 
Mankato House with guns and ammunition ready 
for action. A messenger was also dispatched 
on a mule that night to Fort Snelling to request 
military aid. 

When morning came (Saturday, April 11th) 
about thirty-five persons answered to their names, 
the rest failed to show up for various reasons. 
About ten o'clock A. M., the companv started 
on foot through the mud aind slush of melting 
snow. They were a motley crowd, armed with 
rifles and shot guns. Some had powder horns 
or flasks of every design dangling from their 
necks. Some were rigged in the stvle of west- 
ern hunters, with bright colored shirts, and a 
belt full of pistols and knives; one had cut his 
coat away after the style of the dress imiform 
of an old country soldier, and wore a sort of 
military hat turned up in front. Besser and 
Chism were the only two mounted. They wore 
military gloves and boots and had bright col- 
ored scarfs tied across their shoulders and 
breasts. While hardly any of them had much 
military knowledge or discipline, yet they were 
all brave men. They neglected in their haste 
to take any rations or blankets and hence were 
ill prepared for a long and hard campaign. 

When the Blue Earth bridge was reached 
the company halted and elected the following 
officers : 

sci-i ooi- Mou^e zi A ^ M^oiSoiM <-«Ke ^<i<a ro,er C H O F> c t^ 



Captain, Dr. Wm. F. Lewis. 
First Lieutenant, E. D. Brunei. 
Second Lieutenant, Frederick Ayres. 
Orderly Sergeant, W. S. Sargent. 

The . other members of the company as far 
as we could learn their names were : 

John Hodgson. 

Emerson Hodgson. 

Joseph Hodgson. 

Charles Barney. 

George Peter Hoerr. 

George Becker. 

Uriah Karmany. 

Byron Comstock. 

John C. Jones. 

James T. Besser. 

Louis Wagner. 

John B. Guthrie. 



Clinton B. Hensley (Ed. Mankato Independent). 

Henry Humphrey. 

C. C. Whitman. 

Perry Franz. 

Stanley Johnson. 

Stephan Kissinger. 

Elisha Hill. 

Jason F. Wickersham. 

George Rose. 



Herbert N. Bingham. 

Geo. W. Curtis. 

It was late in the afternoon when the com- 
pany reached the log house of W. E. Eobinson 
at Crystal Lake. Here the few settlers of the 
vicinity had gathered for mutual protection 
and built them a rude fort. Thither Calvin 
Webb had been carried, on his sick bed, and 
died the next day. Thence he was borne to his 
burial by the men only, all armed with guns. 
The Mankato Company had intended to pass 
the night at the Eobinson house, but soon after 
their arrival Tom Lameraux returned from a 
visit to Sloeum's place with the alarming news, 
that some thirty or forty Indians, decked in 
war paint, had just been holding a big war 
dance close by Slocums' house, and the, settlers 
there were expecting to be attacked any moment. 
Captain Lewis then called for Volunteers to 
proceed at once. Though wet and tired every 
man stepped into line, except one, who had 
joined them at South Bend. They pressed 
hurriedly on over the ten additional miles to 
Sloeum's where they arrived about dusk. Their 
coming was a welcome relief to the terrified 
settlers. The Sloeum residence was a three 
story log structure including a side hill base- 

ment. The settlers had been busy all day 
building log breast works and stockades about 
the house. Guards were stationed in these for- 
tifications all night, and, when not so employed, 
the men slept on the floor of the third story, 
and in the barns. The women stayed up all 
night to bake and cook. In accordance with 
the plans of the previous night, the Mankato 
company rose early, and by four o'clock in the 
morning had eaten their breakfast, and started 
for the Indian camp by the Leisch cabin, four 
miles away, with intent to surprise and capture 
the savages. Under guidance of one of the 
settlers they reached the lak«s at early dawn. 
As they were hurrying across the prairie they 
had noticed in the dim light objects hovering 
ahead of them, on the horizon line, evidently 
Indian spies. Two swift runners were called 
for. Whitman and Kissinger volunteered and 
dashed ahead like deer, but the Indians were 
swifter than they. On reaching the nojost 
easterly of the group of lakes, the company was 
divided into three squads. Six men under Lieut. 
Ayres took the lake on the east, Lieut, Bruner 
with fifteen men followed up the westerly lake, 
while Capt. Lewis with the main body marched 
through the timber between the two lakes. This 
center column soon came upon eight teepees, 
but all deserted. The desertion must have been 
very recent though, for the fires in them were 
burning brightly and Indians could be seen 
skulking through the brush and behind trees. 
I'tiree Indians attempted to cross the east lakej 
on a couple of ponies, but the ice was too slip- 
pery and the ponies fell, so they retreated again 
into the timber. Lieut. Ayres and his six men 
were on the ice of the lake running towards 
the Indians. Capt. Lewis noticed the peril 
they were in from such an exposed position, 
and signaled them to join the main column in 
the timber, which they did with alacrity. Fir- 
ing was now heard on the left wing. Brunner's 
men had come upon a number of Indians, and 
both sides had opened fire. Henry Humphrey 
and Chas. Barney could speak some Sioux, and 
they called out to the Indians that they did not 
intend to do them any harm and the Indians 
stopped firing. But Perry Franz and one or two 
others were so excited and officious, that they 



disregarded all orders and kept blazing at the 
Indians. Thereupon the savages retreated hur- 
riedly over a small ridge and disappeared. The 
whites had now united their force and were 
discussing the advisability of following the 
enemy, when the latter returned largely re-en- 
forced and opened a brisk fire upon them. A 
ball struck Becker's gun-stalk, another hit a 
big powder Hask, which hung from the neck 
of Emerson Hodgson and grazed his fingers as 
it glanced, while a third passed through the 
upturned rim of Hensley's cap. The whites 
retreated a few steps into the timber, and got 
beliind trees, and for about half an hour both 
sides kept up a hot fire. The Indians then 
retreated across a small opening in the timber, 
where a grassy swale marked the outlet of one 
of the lakes, into a vacant house, and some 
thick brush beyond. One of their number had 
been shot in the arm. They now dared the 
whites to come after them. The young bucks 
stripped to their breech clouts yelled and danced 
all manner of antics just beyond the opening 
as they uttered their challenges. The whites, 
however, feared an ambush and concluded to 
return to Slocum's for more ammunition and 
re-enforcements. The retreat almost became a 
route as they ran over the prairie, strung out 
in disorder. As soon as the whites were gone 
the Indians hurriedly packed their effects and 
left for the north. 

The excitement now was at its height. The 
settlers in the extreme southwestern part of 
the county gathered into Shelbyville. Those 
living a little further down on the Blue Earth 
fortified themselves in Mr. Eeed's house, near 
the present village of Vernon Center. Those 
along Perch Creek and along the Watonwan, 
below the Slocum neighborhood fled to Garden 
City, where two forts were built one about Pol- 
som's log house north of the village and the 
other on the south of the river by Edson Gerry's 
house. Gerry had moved his first claim shanty 
from the village and put it up near his other 
house. The space between the two houses was 
now closed in by log walls and port holes made 
in them and in the roofs of the houses. Here 
an amusing incident occurred, though at the 
time it seemed serious enough to the persons 

involved. Two or three miles below the pre- 
sent village of Vernon Center, on the Blue 
Earth river, lived Dr. Arledge. Just below the 
house on the river bottom were camped a few In- 
dians making maple sugar. When the doctor heard 
of the massacres he and his family were greatly 
agitated and imagined they saw signs of mis- 
chief in the Indian camp. They wished to fiee 
to Garden City, but did not dare expose them- 
selves outside the cabin for fear of inviting 
an attack. The son, Alexander, a grown up 
young man, finally dressed himself in a blan- 
ket and, thus disguised, mounted on a pony 
and armed with his rifle, he hoped to pass the 
Indian camp without their knowing he was a 
white man. 

The previous fall Joseph McClanahan had 
located a claim in Shelby township and then 
gone back to Indiana. On this particular day 
he was returning to his claim and had reached 
Garden City. They told him of the Indian 
Massacres and urged him to stay there as there 
were Indians all about. He pretended to dis- 
believe the whole story, and thought he could 
get to his claim without trouble. The snow 
was still deep and melting, making the walking 
very hard. He had gone about two miles and 
a half, when lo ! and behold ! coming down the 
road toward him full tilt was a blanketed 
Indian, on a pony and waving a gun. It did 
not take McClanahan but a very small fraction 
of a second to wheel about and take to his 
heels. It was a fearful race. Young Arledge 
(for it was he) hallooed to try and stop him, 
but all McClanahan heard were blood curdling 
warhoops, and he ran all the faster. For two 
miles he - sped like a deer over that terrible 
road of half melted snow and then fell in a 
faint completely exhausted. Young Arlidge 
jumped from his horse and rubbed his fore- 
head and face with snow to restore him to con- 
sciousness. In his semi-delirious condition, 
McClanahan imagined he felt the cold steel 
of the scalping knife pass around his head. The 
men building the fort by Gerry's house were horror 
stricken to vritness such a bold, shocking murder 
committed before their eyes, and seizing their 
guns rushed up the road to the rescue. Fortu- 
nately Arledge managed to disclose his identity 



before they fired. McClanahan was so overcome 
by the fright and exlaaustion that he was con- 
fined to his bed for some days. 

The country was in a delirium of excitement 
and the wildest rumors were everywhere afloat. 
The Saturday evening after the Mankato Com- 
pany left for the Sloeum neighborhood, fleeing, 
settlers began pouring into South Bend and 
Mankato each vieing with the other in sensa- 
tional tales. The walls of the three story stone 
building of General Leech at Mankato were 
about completed. This was soon transformed 
into a fort by barricading with stone and plank 
the doors and windows, and cutting loop holes 
for shooting. A quantity of big stones were 
carried to the top, to hurl down on any assail- 
ant. This building and the log school house 
were packed with refugees, who slept in heaps 
on the floors. There were persistant rumors 
that there had been a desperate battle fought 
between the Mankato company and the Indians, 
and that many had been killed on both sides. 
Some said the company had been ambushed and 
annihilated. Later in the night the report came 
that all the settlers along the Watonwan had 
been massacred and that Garden City had been 
captured and burned. It seems a straw stack in 
that vicinity had been fired to light some refu- 
gees across the river. Later in the night a 
settler from the Watonwan county came hur- 
rying into Mankato with the news, that the 
Indians had taken Garden City and that he 
could see the flames of the burning town. That 
an army of nine hundred savages, all well 
armed were on the way to attack South Bend 
and Mankato and would be there in a few 
hours. The town was soon in a panic of fear. 
Front street was lined with the teams of fleeing 
settlers. Men hurried from house to house 
awakening the people and apprising them of 
the danger. The women and children cried. 
Nearly all who had teams started with their 
families for St. Peter. One man offered fifty 
dollars for a team to carry his family there. 
The Mankato House was the headquarters of 
the town, where the latest and most reliable 
news could be found. Henry Shaubut, Wil- 
liam Bierbauer and many others discredited 
most of the rumors, and urged the people to 

keep cool, until the reports were verified. A 
sort of reign of terror prevailed all that night 
and few people slept at Mankato, South Bend 
or Garden City. 

Sunday morning a company of thirty-eight 
volunteers arrived from St. Peter under Captain 
WilUam B. Dodd. They were joined by Daniel 
Tyner and two or three others from Mankato 
and by T. M. Pugh and others from South 
Bend, and proceeded at once in teams to re- 
enforce the Mankato company at Slocums', where 
they arrived late that afternoon. Two mounted 
men were sent from Garden City to Mr. Slo- 
com's house to learn the news. When near the 
house some of the young men fired their guns 
and the two scouts beat a hasty retreat and re- 
ported that the Indians had taken Slocum's 
house and murdered all the settlers. Most of 
the Garden City people removed to Mankato 
during this Sunday. On Monday the Mankato 
and St. Peter companies scoured the valley of 
the Watonwan in quest of Indians but found 
none. At the mouth of Perch Creek they dis- 
covered the recent camping place of a chief 
called Sintomnidutah. He and his band had 
been in the habit of camping here. They found 
a large log trough, into which the Indians had 
gathered the maple sap at their sugar making. 
On it were a pair of snow shoes pointing south- 
east, a small bundle of bones had been tied to 
a tree above them, and in the ashes was buried 
a round stone painted red. The message was 
intended to read: "AU-over-Eed camped here. 
The food being exhausted, he has gone south- 
east to look for game." 

The next day a company of thirty or forty 
volunteers from Traverse des Sioux under 
George McLeod as captain having gone east of 
Garden City came upon the chief in a valley of 
the Blue Earth, called "Castle Garden," and 
chased him and his band back across the Waton- 
wan. When the first onslaught was made upon 
them the Indians ran across a plowed field. So 
hot was the pursuit that one old squaw fell ex- 
hausted, and a small, half starved pony, failing 
to keep up the pace, was abandoned. The route 
was, also, strewn with Indian household goods 
and cooking utensils, which the panic stricken 
redmen had thrown away in their flight. Some 


of these and the pony the doughty white war- 
riors carried off as trophies of tlieir victory. 

In South Bend village a palisade fort made 
of plank and logs from the saw mill^ was con- 
structed around the house of John Williams^ 
and a volunteer company organized to guard 
the town. 

In the Judson neighborhood a fort was built 
from the saw logs at the McNutt mill, just 
across the river from Judson village. A volun- 
teer company was organized, with Mr. Bean of 
Nicollet as captain. Two lines of pickets were 
maintained, one on the high bluffs overlooking 
the river, and the other near the fort. When 
doing gTiard duty H. Caywood saw a blanketed 
Indian skulking through the brush in the dim 
morning light and promptly put a bullet through 
him. The shooting created a panic of excite- 
ment in the fort for they thought surely the 
savages were upon them. When the garrison 
had plucked up enough courage to go and look 
for the dead Indian, they found in the brush 
Caywood's old white mare wounded. 

About six miles north of the McNutt fort old 
cliief Eed Iron was camped with a number of 
his braves by Swan Lake. Captain Bean led 
his company against these Indians to drive them 
away. When near the village. Gust Tidland and 
David Dackins, who could speak some Sioux, 
were sent ahead to confer with the Indians. 
Eed Iron and his followers disclaimed any 
thought of hostility to .the whites, and had no 
knowledge of the Spirit Lake murders. If their 
presence was disturbing the white man they 
would depart. In a few days they withdrew 
to their reservation and the settlers breathed 

The settlers, who had located in the present 
tovm of Cambria, also had some exciting exper- 
ience. The Indians who had been attacked by 
the Mankato company near Madelia, passed 
through this settlement on the night of the 12th 
of April, and pitched itheir wigwams on the 
Little Cottonwood, ^about two miles west of the 
Blue Earth county line. < On April 14th a 
volunteer company of thirty or forty Welsh and 
German settlers, under the leadership of Eev. 
Peter S. Davies, met at the home of Mr. Lipp 
and marched against them. Near the Indian 

camp stood the log cabin of a German bachelor, 
named J. Brandt. There were indications that 
the house had been plundered, but Mr. Brandt 
could not be found. Some of the Germans were 
inclined to attack the Indians at once, but cooler 
heads saw the danger of such a proceeding. The 
Indians outnumbered the whites nearly two to 
one, and were well armed and good shots. Only 
a few of the whites had good rifles and many 
were only armed with pitchforks, or long poles 
with scythes lashed to their top. John S. 
Davis, Samuel D. Shaw and J. Fessenmeyer 
vvere deputated to confer with the Indians and 
learn their intention. The rest of the company 
lay concealed behind a long wood pile and in 
some brush, ready in case of any emergency. 
As a signal of danger the deputation were to 
fire a gun. The Indians declared they were 
friendly and peaceable and had no sympathy 
with Inkpadutah whatever. While the confer- 
ence was in progress Mr. Fessenmeyer's gun 
-srent off accidentally, and immediately from be- 
hind the wood pile and brush leaped about forty 
pale faces and, with demoniac yells, came rush- 
ing down upon the Indian village, brandishing 
their guns, pitchforks and scythe-tipped poles. 
The surprised savages, bucks, sqiiaws and pa- 
pooses, lit out for the tall timber as fast as their 
moccasined feet could carry them. It took the 
most prompt and energetic action on the part 
of the three deputies to stop the mad charge 
and restore order. The Indians assured the 
v/hites of their friendship and finally agreed to 
depart for their agency. 

Two days later the body of Mr. Brandt was 
found in the brush back of his cabin, with two 
bullet holes in his head, evidently having been 
murdered by the Indians, who had an old grudge 
against him. It was fortunate the murder was 
not discovered when the whites met the Indians, 
else more serious consequences would have re- 

After ^pending three or four days on the 
Watonwan the volunteer- companies from Man- 
kato, St. Peter and Traverse returned home. 
The next day after the Mankato company reach- 
ed home (April 18th), a young man brought 
v;ord to the county seat that Sintomnidutah's 
band had again appeared near Madelia, and 



had killed a cow and committed other depreda- 
tions, and asking immediate aid. It may be 
All-Over-Eed did not appreciate the fun of be- 
ing chased by the paleface and the loss of his 
pony and household goods, or perhaps he had 
not had any meat to eat since he picked those 
few bones he hung on a tree at the mouth of 
Perch Creek, and was hungry. The Mankato 
company was just getting ready to return to 
the Watonwan and give the old chief another 
chase, when they heard the blast of a bugle 
north of town and saw a long file of soldiers 
approaching on the St. Peter road. \\'ith their 
bright uniforms, their guns glistening in the sun, 
and a large flag leading the column, they pre- 
sented a fine appearance. They proved to be the 
long looked for regulars from Fort Snelling, 
who had been sent for the week before. The)- 
were in command of a Col. Smith, a very de- 
liberate and crusty old soldier. It had taken 
him five or six days to reach ilankato from 
Fort Snelling, and Avhen Dr. Lewis went to 
tell him of the recent call for help from the 
Watonwan settlers, he gruffly told him to put 
the request in writing. After camping in front 
of the Leach building until the following Mon- 
day, the colonel led his force of 160 men to the 
relief of the Watonwan settlers, but he found 
no Indians. Perhaps they got tired of waiting 
for him. The military tactics of that day were 
too dilatory and cumbersome for Indian fight- 
ing. All-Over-Eed would have starved to death 
if he had stayed in the same place, until the 
palefaces got ready to fight him. 

When the excitement was at its height it was 
reported at Faribault, Shakopee, St. Paul and 
other towns that Mankato and St. Peter had 
been captured, and burned by a horde of 
Yankton and Sisseton Sioux, nine hundred 
strong, and that the savages were sweeping 
down the valley, killing and burning every- 
thing before them. At Faribault General 
Jamoe Shields raised a ^'olunteer army to go to 
the rescue, but dispatched a friendly Indian 
rimner to verify the report, while he was getting 
ready. The Indian returned next day with 
dispatches contradicting the rumor. At St. 
Paul much excitement prevailed. A volunteer 
company was organized, guards stationed and 

fortifications made ready to repel the expected 

In a few days it was evident that there was 
no real ground for such a scare. Xone of the 
'Indians showed any hostile intention, other than 
Inkpadutah and his few followers. These mur- 
derers fled to the Sioux river, in South Dakota, 
and no effort was ever made by the military to 
pursue or punish them. The whites seemed 
perfectly impotent in any effort to apprehend 
an Indian on the plains. The red devils soon 
killed in a brutal manner two of their women 
captives, Mrs. Thacher and ilrs. Xoble. The 
other two. Miss Gardner and ilrs. ^larble, were 
ransomed by some - Christian Indians, who had 
been sent for the purpose from the mission sta- 
tion of Drs. Eiggs and Williamson, and restored 
to their friends. The government tried to com- 
pel the other Indians to capture Inkpadutah and 
his band, by refusing to pay them their annuities 
until they delivered up these murderers. It 
was a foolish and unjust move, which only re- 
sulted in mischief. Little Crow and a number 
of other Indians finally undertook the task and, 
after an absence of some days, returned with a 
fishy story, how they had come upon the bad 
Indians by a certain lake and, after a hard 
fight, had killed a number of them. Though 
Vv'hoUy preposterous in every detail, the sti n-y 
got the Indians their rations. During the sum- 
mer a son of Inkpadutah ventured to visit the 
Indians at the agency. His presence was re- 
■vealed to the military and he was killed, when 
attempting to get away. No other member of 
Inkpadutah's cut-throat gang is known to ha\e 
received punishment. The people .soon returned 
to their homes and various avocations and, be- 
fore long, the Indians mingled witli the settlers 
as before, and the late unpleasantness was prac- 
tically forgotten. Militia companies, however, 
were formed during the summer at Garden City, 
and on the Watonwan near Madelia; and guns 
and accoutrements were furnished J:hem from the 
territorial armory. At Garden City an armory 
hall was constructed for the use of the company. 

Between the Indian scare, the unprecedented 
cold, backward season, and the money panic, 
the year 1857 was quite unfavorable to much 
immigration or material prosperity of any sort. 



Blue Earth coimty, however, seems to have re- 
ceived quite an addition to its population and 
to have made substantial progress, in spite of 
the untoward conditions. The Minnesota was 
high and the traffic on the river was very brisk 
all summer. Boats were arriving almost daily 
at the Mankato and South Bend wharfs. Some- 
times as many as four boats arrived at the for- 
mer place in one day. During the season there 
were 293 boat arrivals at St. Paul from the 
Minnesota. The year before there had been 316 
arrivals. The boats who paid Mankato the most 
frequent visits in 1857 were: The "Jennette 
Eoberts/' "Isaac Shelby, Medora," "Prank Steel" 
and "Time and Tide," all good sized boats. At 
Mankato the big three story stone business block, 
begun by General Leach the previous fall was 
completed. A similar stone block was erected 
this same year by White and Marks. These two 
fine buildings were for many years the most 
imposing structures at the county seat. About 
the middle of May a Mankato resident found 
sixty-three new buildings then in process of erec- 
tion. By the first of November there were in 
Mankato by actual count 90 business houses, in- 
cluding stores, shops and offices. A good steam 
saw mill had been started here the year before 
by George W. Lay, and this year saw the erec- 
tion of the much larger steam mill of A. D. 
Seward, Josiah Keene and A. N. Dukes, co- 
partners as A. D. Seward and Co. It had a 
forty horse power engine, two upright saws and 
a lath and shingle mill attached. 

On the 13th of June, 1857, was issued the 
first number of the "Mankato Independent," the 
first newspaper in Blue Earth County. The 
proprietors, Clinton B. Hensley and Prank W. 
Gunning, brought their printing outfit with 
them from Kokomo, Indiana, and as an induce- 
ment $800.00 of printing was subscribed and 
paid for in advance by Mankato business men. 
Mr. Hensley was an able writer and his paper 
was a valuable acquisition to the county. The 
printing office was located first in a small frame 
building, erected for the purpose, on the corner 
of Walnut and Third streets. This location 
soon proved unsatisfactory and, on Oct. 1st, the 
paper was moved to the upstairs of a new store 
building, just completed by Messrs. Hubbell and 

Tinkcom, where the Patterson Wholesale Gro- 
cery now stands. 

By August 1st, 1857, there were tliree stage 
lines carrying mail and passefigers centered at 
Mankato; a daily line to St. Paul starting at 
South Bend, on which the fare was $7.00; a 
tri-weekly line passing through South Bend, 
Garden City, Vernon and Shelbyville to Blue 
Earth City, on which the fare was $4.00; and 
a tri-weekly line passing through Tivoli and 
Winnebago Agency and thence to Owatonna, on 
which the fare was $5.00. On July 38th, 1857, 
the County Commissioners let the contract for 
the erection of a county building on the court 
house block to Prancis Bunker and Isaac N. 
Britton for $1,500.00. It was to be 30x34 feet 
and constructed of stone with a fireproof stone 
vault 6x7 feet in the rear. At the same time a 
contract for building a board fence around' the 
block was let to the same persons for $335.00. 

The townsite of LeHillier was surveyed and 
platted in 1857 by Noah Armstrong, William J. 
McCaulay, John J). McCaulay, Chas. A. Chap- 
man, Ann M. E. DeWitt, Eobert C. Nichols, 
John Wilson, Sidney B. Hawley, William J. 
Sturgis, Isaac Day and George W. Nelson, and 
a two story stone building was erected by 
George M. Keenan in which he opened a hotel. 
This ancient land mark still stands a little be- 
yond the west end of the Blue Earth bridge. 

Adjoining this up the Blue Earth another 
townsite was platted by Thos. Eiley and Fred 
E. Eoelofson in September, 1857, called West 
Le Hillier. In June of the same year West 
Mankato was laid out by a large number of 
proprietors, most of whom were non-residents. 
The company built a saw mill on the Blue 

South Bend, also was in a most flourishing 
condition. Some twenty or thirty buildings 
were constructed this year. Among these was 
a large frame hotel, built by Matthew Thomp- 
son. The formal opening of this hostelry was 
duly celebrated by a grand ball, held on Decem- 
ber 31, 1857. S. Abbott & Co., were its first 

A second saw mill was started in South Bend 
this year owned by Eev. Eich Davis and John 
Williams. The other mill owned by D. C. 



Evans and W. E. Price, had added a run of 
stone for grinding corn, which, furnished the 
settlers of the vicinity their material for johnny 
cake and hasty pudding. About June 1st, 1857, 
Daniel Buck, then a young man fresh from the 
hills of Center New York, arrived at South 
Bend and opened a law office. On the 4th of 
June the village held a big celebration in honor 
of the beginning of the survey for the St. Paul, 
Minneapolis and Big Sioux Eailroad. The first 
stake was set with due ceremony by Judge J. 
Brayton of Ohio in the presence of a great 
crowd of people. J. B. Pish was at the head 
of the corps of engiaeers, who had charge of 
the survey. After placing the stake the crowd 
repaired to the banking room of W. J. McCau- 
ley. Paul P. Eckstrom, the foremost mer- 
chant of the village, presided and speeches were 
made by Messers. Bangs, Eodgers, Pish, Buck, 
Ben. McGiven, and J. T.. Williams. The volun- 
teer company, a relic of the recent Inkpadutah 
war, marched through the streets and fired 
salutes, and the festivities closed with a big 
oyster supper at Norcott's Hotel, the three story 
log building, which D. C. Evans had built. 
This survey was on the line' that was after- 
wards called the St. Paul and Sioux City Eail- 

So full of promise was South Bend at this 
time that Mr. Eckstrom platted a large addi- 
tion thereto, which was called after his name. 
In South Bend township a frame church was 
constructed about a mile west of Minneopa 
Palls, by the "Zion" Cal. Meth. society of that 
locality. Judson village was also flourshing. 
It Had a large saw mill on each side of the 
river. Cephas S. Terry and Thos. E. Coulson 
had good sized stores, and there were a number 
of shops and residences built there this year. 
John A. Tidland in July platted a large addi- 
tion to this townsite. 

In June of this year a new townsite was 
laid out on the farm of Hiram Yates, a Uttle 
south of Crystal Lake. The proprietors were 
John A. Willard, E. J. Sibley, Hiram Yates 
and Elias D. Bruner. It was called "Crystal 
Lake City." Though a number of persons with 
push and capital were interested, it failed to 
materialize into anything more than a paper 

city. At Garden City two saw mills were com- 
pleted this year, one by Messrs. Dilly, Warren 
and Capwell, and the other by S. il. Folsom, 
E. P. Evans and M. B. Boynton. The latter 
mill was provided with one run of stones for 
flour, and had a corn sheUer, corn mill, and 
shingle mill attached. A large hotel was also 
erected here during the summer by Messrs. 
Folsom and Evans, and the general store of 
Harrington & Cheney had been supplemented 
by one or two others. 

Further up the Watonwan, by Hoxsie & 
Conklin's mill, David P. Hunt, Neri T. Hox- 
sie and J. W. Greenwood, in August, 1857, 
laid out a town called, ''^Vatonwan," which 
made the third city platted in Garden City 
Township. Like Crystal Lake, it did not suc- 
ceed, and in February 1863 the plat was 
vacated. A post office was established here this 
year with J. H. Greenwood as postmaster. The 
Mill soon passed into the hands of Warren, 
Greenwood and Shaubut, who, in 1861, sold it 
to Butterfield & Wampler. Chas. P. Butter- 
field soon, however, became sole proprietor and 
his efficient management made the mill quite 
famous in that part of the county for many 
years. Between the mill, post ofliice, church and 
school house the place continued a local center 
until the present day. 

On July 8th, 1857 two new Election pre- 
cincts were created in the county, one desig- 
nated "Ceresco," after a town of that name in 
Wisconsin, whence the Porters and some others of 
the inhabitants had come, and the other "Vernon," 
after Mount Vernon, Ohio, the old home of 
Col. B. P. Smith, B. McCracken and others of 
its settlers. Ceresco precinct comprised the 
present townships of Ceresco and Lincoln, and 
its first officers were: Sheldon P. Barney, Isaac 
Slocum and Benjamin Pease, and the first elec- 
tion was appointed to be held at the house of 
William Wells. Vernon precinct embraced the 
present township of that name and its first 
officers were : Judges of Election, Horton W. 
Nelson, C. C. Mack and T. B. Northrup, Jus- 
tice of the Peace, Benj. McCracken, at whose 
house the first election was appointed to be 
held. Two rival townsites were started this 
year in A'ernon precinct. One was located on 



the Blue Earth in sections thirty-three and 
twenty-eight and ealled "Montevideo.'' It was 
never platted, as a misunderstanding between 
the proprietors, Jonathan Leavit, Horton W. 
Nelson and George W. Nelson, soon arose, which 
lead to litigation and an abandonment of the 
project within a year. Jonathan and Caleb 
Leavitt and Jacob Taylor built a sawmill there, 
which they operated for a year and then 
removed it to Madelia, and Horton W. Nelson 
started to build a hotel. In those days a mill 
and a hotel were deemed indispensible for the 
proper iDCginning of any city. 

The other townsite was started further down 
the river on section 26 by the "Blue Earth 
Company." This organization was formed at 
Mt. Vernon, Ohio, with Col. B. F. Smith and 
Benj. McCracken as its principal promoters. 
In June 1857 they had their townsite sur- 
veyed and platted by il. B. Haynes. A saw- 
mill was erected, which was operated for some 
years by Messrs. Smith and Haynes. Another 
mill was built ten years later by Eeed & Mason, 
and a feed mill started by G. W. Doty. A post 
office was established with J. P. Dooley as 
postmaster and a store opened about 1858. Col. 
Smith also built a hotel there the same year. 

At Shelbyville there was considerable activ- 
ity. A large saw mill was erected there in 
1857, by Henry Stokes and J. J. Porter, and 
a portable saw mill put up about a mile from 
the village by John Swearingen. A large hotel 
was built by Tilton 0. Allen and two stores, 
two blacksmith shops, a cabinet shop, and an 
M. E. Church and several houses were also 

On section five of Shelby another town was 
started by S. M. Polsom and others, but 
nothing came of it. The . plat of Mapleton 
townsite, which had been surveyed the previous 
July on the line between the present townships 
of Sterling and Mapleton, was not made until 
January, 1857. It was signed by James Cor- 
nell, Eobert Taylor and John Maund. No 
improvements were ever made on this land to 
give it an urban appearance, and it soon was 
jumped for claims. Eobert Taylor, however, in 
1857, had a store, post office and hotel in his 
log house on the Maple. A little further down 

the river a blacksmith shop was started, and on 
the same stream Stephen and Elijah Middle- 
brook operated a portable saw mill. 

Between Lake Wita and Lake Washington on 
section 20, in the present town of Jamestown, 
a saw mill was started by A. F. Howes, which 
during 1857 was quite active. It stood in the 
midst of one of the finest black walnut groves 
in the country, which stretched from the north 
end of Eagle Lake to the county line. 

Another saw mill was started in the north- 
west corner of the county, on the Little Cotton- 
wood, by David P. Davis. Most of these mills 
had one run of stones attached for grinding 
corn. The milling industry, which had such 
a fair start in 1857, was destined to grow and 
for more than a quarter of a century was the 
chief manufacturing industry of the county. 
Both steam and watet power were used and, 
during the time stated, they furnished most 
of the lumber and flour used by the people. 
The great number of townsites started this year 
marks the climax of this craze in our county. 
On the first of June 1857, was held the elec- 
tion of delegates to the constitutional conven- 
tion preparatory to the admission of Minnesota 
as a State. Dr. W. E. McMahan was the repre- 
sentative elected from Blue Earth County. On 
October 13th occurred the election of State and 
County officers, when Blue Earth cast 1,131 
votes. Of these H. H. Sibley the Democratic 
nominee received 594 and Alexander Eamsey, 
the Republican nominee 537. Mankato and 
Eice Lake were, however, the only two pre- 
cincts that gave Democratic majorities, the 
other eight precincts were Eepublican. J. T. 
Williams was elected Clerk of Court, being the 
only successful Eepublican on the County tick- 
et. E. D. Bruner was chosen Probate Judge, 
Stephen Lamm, Treasurer; Daniel T. Bunker, 
Sheriff; and W. S. Sargent, Register of Deeds. 
The year 1857 notes the first appearance in 
Blue Earth County of the grasshopper scourge, 
vfhich in after years worked such disastrous 
havoc. At this early date, however, there was 
not ijiuch to destroy except a few gardens, and 
the pest soon disappeared. But the pioneers of that 
day had other pests _ to contend with, the striped 
gopher, the pocket gopher and the blackbird 


were then a plague in the land. The myriad the skj' black with their aerial maneuvers. Corn 

sloughs, with their tall reeds and grasses, had and potatoes -svere the principal crops of the 

been ideal nesting places for blackbirds for early settlers, and it was against tlicse that the 

countless ages and during the spring and fall devastations of these pests were directed, both 

the groves were musical with their voices, and at the planting and harvesting. 



At the first meeting of the County Commis- 
sioners for 1858 held on the 4th of January 
there was a change in personnel of the board and, 
also, in its policy on the liquor question. Norman 
L. Jackson of Shelby had been elected to suc- 
ceed E. Patterson, and Elijah K. Bangs of 
South Bend was chosen to fill the place of Matt- 
hew Thompson, resigned. This left Theron 
Parsons as the only member of the old board 
still in service. Heretofore the board had refus- 
ed to grant liquor licenses and Mr. Parsons was 
a strong teetotaler. At the meeting of January 
6th a majority of the board voted to grant 
liquor licenses, and Mr. Parsons at once handed 
in his resignation in writing, giving as reason 
for his action, the determination of the major- 
ity of the board tO' issue such licenses, and asked 
that the same be inserted in the minutes where 
they stand to this day. On January 8th Sam- 
uel M. Walker was elected to fill the vacancy 
thus caused. 

The winter of 1857-8 was remarkably mild 
and open, which was greatly appreciated after 
the extreme rigor of the three former winters. 
On the 23nd of January it was so warm, that 
the editor of the Mankato Independent sat in 
his office writing all day without a fire and with- 
out a coat or vest. The rivers broke up for 
a time and on January 25th the ferry across 
the Minnesota at Mankato was carried away by the 
freshet. The first steamer did not arrive at Man- 
kato until the 22nd of March, but that was the 
earliest date a boat was ever known to ascend the 
Minnesota before or after. It was the Medora, 
with Capt. Chas. T. Hinde in command. The 

sound of her whistle was heard miles down the 
river, and the entire population of Mankato, 
men, women and children, were ready at the 
wharf to greet her with cheer upon cheer. In 
a few hours she was followed by the second 
boat, the Jennette Eoberts. On March 20th, 
1858 South Bend village was incorporated with 
William E. Price as President, Paul Eckstrom 
as Clerk and C. Wliitford, Dr. Havens and 
Joshua Barnard as trustees. The same month 
the Legislature passed a bill to incorporate Man- 
kato as a village, but because of the absence of 
the Governor, it failed to receive his signature in 

Up to this time no railroad had been built 
in the State, and the people were ready to do 
most anything to secure this necessity of mod- 
ern civilization. Early in March a bill was 
passed by the Legislature authorizing the Gov- 
ernor to issue bonds, in an amount not to exceed 
$5,000,000.00, to aid in the construction of rail- 
roads. The bill, however, provided that the mat- 
ter be submitted to a vote of the people before 
it became effective. The Mankato Independent 
denounced the measure as a fraud from the start, 
and waged a bitter war against its adoption up 
to the special election, held April 15th, 1858. 
As a result Blue Earth County cast a major- 
ity of nearly 200 votes against the bill and was 
the only county in the State to give an adverse 
majority. The wisdom of this action became 
fully apparent shortly afterwards. 

A number of prominent lawyers began to lo- 
cate at Mankato in the winter of 1857-8, among 
whom were Willard and Barney, Cramer Burt 




and M. S. Willcinson. On March 14th, 1858, a 
irumber of German citizens formed a company 
of state militia at Ulman'a Hall in Mankato. 
Joseph Guenther was elected captain and served 
about six months, when Matthias Ulman' suc- 
ceeded him in command. A Turners' Associa- 
tion was also organized by the Germans of that 
town about the same time with the following 
officers: President, Wm. Bierbauer; Vice-presi- 
dent, Jacob PfafE; First Secretary, Chas. L. 
Marks; Second Secretary, Henry Hartmann; 
Treasurer, M. H. Bergholtz; Turnwart, John 

C. Haupt; Tengwart, C'has. Heilborn; Librarian, 
Joseph Leibrack. This society flourished for 
many years and was the first and only one of 
the kind formed in the county. 

Wliile a number - of school districts had been 
formed over the county very few of them had 
begun actual work for want of funds, but taxes 
now began to come in. Log schools hoiises had 
been erected in most of the settlements and the 
people were anxious to begin educational work. 
On January 28th, 1858, the County Commis- 
sioners apportioned the school money as follows : 

Name of District. Xo. No. Scholars. Amt. 

Shelbyville ..". 11 62 $63.55 

Butternut Valley (No. 10) . . . . 7 28 28.70 

J. J. Lewis (Sterling) 14 21 21. .53 

Judson ■ 4 50 51.25 

Watonwan City 15 16 16.40 

Garden City .' 10 58 59.45 

South Benci 3 75 76.87 

Campbells (Lime) ■. 8 49 50.22 

Mill Creek (Minneopa) 16. 46 47. 15 

Mapleton (Sterling) 5 55 56.37 

Mankato 1 870 276.75 

D. P. Davis (No. 11 Cambria) 6 27 27.67 

Total - 757 $775.81 

None of the schools received the money thus 
apportioned to then} for all of it, that was col- 
lected, was appropriated by F. Bunker, the 
Sheriff, and his bondsnien finally settled with the 
County Board by paying the same in county 
orders, which were not worth over fifty cents 
on the dollar. 

On the same day (January 38), the board 
redistricted the whole county (outside the re- 
servation), beginning at its northeast corner and 
numbering them in each township conseciitively 
westward to west line of county, thence south- 
ward to its south line, and thence east to the 

east line of Danville, making in all sixty-one 
school districts. 

In accordance with an act of the Legislature 
just passed requiring counties to be divided into 
towns instead of election precincts, the Board of 
County Commissioners on April 6th, 1858, pro- 
ceeded to do this with all the territory outside 
the Winnebago reservation. The name of each 
election precinct was applied to the towns in 
every case, but as there were more townships of 
land than election precincts a few new names 
were required. The names given were as fol- 

Lime — Boundaries same as at present. 

Jamestown — Included Jamestown and LeRay ex- 
cept south tier of sections. 

Mankato — Same as at present except south tier of 

South Bend — Same, except south tier sections. 

Judson^Same as at present. 

Butternut Vallev — Included Cambria and Butternut 

Ttitchfleld — Same as Lincoln. 

Watonwan — Same as Garden City. 

Montevideo — Same as Vernon. 

Ceresco — Same as at present. 

Otsego — Same as Pleasant Mound. 

Liberty — Same as Shelby. 

Mapleton — Same as Sterling. 

Sherman — Same as Mapleton. 

Jackson — Same as Danville. 

At this meeting a petition was presented, sign- 
ed by eighty-two residents of South Bend, re- 
questing the range line between 36 and 27 to 
be fixed as the east line of their town, instead 
of the Blue Earth River. This was opposed by 
Mankato and by most of the residents of the 
disputed territory. The board finally by a vote 
of two to one fixed the center of the Blue Earth 
and Le Sueur Rivers as the east boundary of 
South Bend. 

Some of the names given to the towns were 
not satisfactory and on April 16th, 1858, the 
Commissioners concluded to divide the whole 
county including the Winnebago Agency into 
towns and rename them all; The only change 
in the list above given was that the name of 
Ritchfield was changed to Fox Lake. It was 
intended that the name Fox Lalce should be ap- 
plied in town 106 range 39, as it was selected by 
John and Miles Porter, who lived there, after 
their old home in Wisconsin, while Ceresco was 
tc be applied to to-mi 107, where Isaac Slocum 
resided and was the name he had chosen after 
the Wisconsin town he had come from. But 






the Commissioners, through some blunder, got 
the names transposed and they were never cor- 
rected. Another change in the' list was that the 
name "Vernon" was substituted for "Monte- 
video." These were two names of rival town- 
sites in the same township, ^ and the proprietors 
oC each were anxious to have the name of their 
respective city applied to the town, and Vernon 
won. The names added to the list were for the 
townships embraced in the Indian Agency and 
were as follows : 

De Soto — Now Rapidan. 
Decoria — Same as at present. 
Rice Lake — Now McPherson. 
Medo — Same as at present. 
Winneshiek — Now Beauford. 
Tecumseh — Now Lyra. 

On the same day Lime was set o££ from Man- 
kato as an independent town. Fox Lake was 
attached to Ceresco, Otsego to Liberty, and later 
Jackson was attached to Mapleton, and Eice 
Lake to Mankato for administrative purposes. 

The people were still agitating the removal of 
the Winnebagoes, and in February a joint re- 
solution to that effect was passed by both houses 
of the Minnesota Legislature and sent to Con- 

In April of this year (1858), Moses 0. Ben- 
nett laid out a townsite close to his mill, near 
the center of the east half of section 25 of 
Mankato Township, which he called Tivoli. A 
Congregational church was organized through 
the efforts of Mr. Bennett with about thirty 
members, and a good church building erected 
upon a "fine plat of ground specially dedicated 
for the purpose, and which is now used for the 
school house site. The church was organized 
in winter 1857-8 by Eev. M. N. Adams. Eev. 
E. A. Bumham, the father of Capt. Fred Burn- 
ham the noted English scout of South Africa, 
used to preach at this church and at a church 
in Alma City for a number of years, and work- 
ed at the same time for Mr. Bennett at the 
mill. He was a young man then, and it was 
while living at Tivoli that he went down to 
Sterling and was married on July 3d, 1860, 
by Eev. J. E. Conrad to Eebecca, daughter of 
William Eussell of that town; and it was at a 
log cabin belonging to Mr. Bennett, that Mr. 

and Mrs. Burnham were living when their fam- 
ous son was bom. 

On April 15th, 1858, the village, or rather 
"Town of Mankato" as it was designated, held 
its first charter election, in spite of the fact 
that the governor had not yet signed the bill of 
Incorporation. The following officers were elec- 
ted: President, Alpheus F. Hawley,; Eecorder, 
David Lamm, Trustees, S. Hylan, Wm. Bier- 
bauer and Isaac Marks. The bill was after- 
wards approved by the Governor on June 11th, 

It seems after the court house square had been 
fenced, sonje of the residents in the vicinity 
found it convenient to turn therein their hor- 
ses, cattle, sheep and swine, and we find the 
County Board on July 8th, 1858, passing a 
resolution directing the sheriff to turn all such 
animals out. Prom the start the county had 
been "in a bad way financially, as there were so 
many things necessary, and but little taxable 
property. County orders were not worth over 
fifty cents on the dollar, and the county build- 
ings had not yet been fully paid for, and more 
were badly needed. An act was therefore passed 
by the Legislature and approved June 11, 
1858, authorizing a loan for not to exceed 
$5,000 upon bonds drawing 12 per cent inter- 
est. As the County Commissioners were legis- 
lated out of office by this same Legislature, and 
a Board of County Supervisors substituted in 
their place, composed of the Chairman of each 
town board, it became necessary to pass a 
special act, continuing the Board of County 
Commissioners of Blue Earth County in being 
until September, 1858, for the purpose of issu- 
ing the bonds. On August 6th, 1858, the bonds 
were issued in amounts of $500, each drawing 
twelve per cent interest, but it took quite a 
time to get money on them, as the country had 
just passed through a severe money panic. 
These were the first bonds ever issued by the 

The summer of 1858 was rather wet and 
the navigation of the Minnesota was good. J. 
T. Besser kept a record of all steamboat arriv- 
als at Mankato during the season with names 
of boats and dates of arrival, which we still 



possess. From this it appears that the names 
of the boats and number of arrivals were: 
From below: 

Medora 7 

Jennette Roberts 27 

Time & Tide 20 

Franklin Steel 35 

Isaac Shelby ; 16 

Freighter 14 

Wave ..... ...;.... 8 

Minnesota 3 

Belfast . . ... .; . . . . . ;....... 1 

Total 131 

From above: 

Medora 2 

Jennette Roberts 14 

Time & Tide 2 

Franklin Steel 4 

Isaac Shelby ; 9 

Freighter 11 

Wave ...;.......' 4 

Minnesota 1 

Belfast 1 

Total ,.....;,. 48 

Total ' both 'ways '. 179 

.Messrs. Cleveland and Bntterfleld bnilt two 
flat boats at M^nkato, the firgt of which, was 
launched on September 18th qf this year, but 
the. record of these flat boats were not kept by 
j..j-r. Besser. Mr. Woloben built a pleasure boat 
for the "Mankato Yacht Club," which was 
christened "Kate" and launched at Lake Crys- 
tal in June. This boat did service at a .big 
Independence day picnic, held in the grove by 
Lake Crystal on July 2nd. On September 
14th, 1858 was held the first meeting of the 
Board of County Supervisors cf Blue Earth 
County. It consisted of the follov'ng per^oiis: 

James Shoemaker, Mankato. 
Samuel M. Valker, Mankato. 
Daniel Campbell, Lime. 
Timothy Sullivan, Jamestown. 
Lyman Matthews, South Bend. 
James A. Wiswell, Watonwan. 
Jasper C. Browning, Vernon. 
James Cornell, Mapleton. 
David Davi^, Butternut Valley. 
Robert Patterson, Judson. 
Rudolph Crandall, Liberty. 
Lucius Dyer, Jackson. 

, Mr. Walker was chosen chairman and Wilr 
Ham S. Sargent, clerk. Heret^^forp the Eegis- 
ter of Deeds had been the Clorx of the County 
Commissioners, but by the recent act tliC Board 
was authorized to select another person, and 

ihe name of the office was changed to "Councj 
Audii-or." PriJtieally the new Boiirrl consLsted 
of seven J-JepubJJcans and six Democrats. 

There were still some who wished to change 
their township namra and Messrs. Crandall, 
Dyer and Browning .were appointed a committee 
to consider these changes. On October 14th 
they recommended that Jackson be changed to 
"Danville," (a name suggested by Mr. Dyer 
after his old home in Vermont), "Vernon" to 
"Mt. Vernon," "Otsego" to Willow Creek" and 
"Liberty" to "Shelby." Most of these changes 
became necessary because the names had been 
appropriated by other towna in the state. The 
report was adopted with one exception, 'Ver- 
non" was changed to "Vernon Center," as both 
"Vernon" and "Mt. Vernon" had already been 
applied to other towns in the state. 

On October 16th, Joseph Titus was appointed 
coroner for the county. The rate of tax for 
county purposes was iixed at seven and one- 
half - per cent, and at the same meeting Chas. 
A. Chapman was hired to make copies of all 
the town plats in the county, which duty' he 
performed with excellent success. 

The crops of 1858 were fairly good in spite 
of the wet season. We note this year the first 
known raising of Amber cane in the county 
by Eev. Gunn in South Bend and James Miller 
in Shelby. It was generally considered by the 
pioneers that Minnesota was too cold for the 
production of apples. S. Titus Mills was 
among the first to demonstrate that this fruit 
would grow in this climate. He had an orch- 
ard planted on his farm by Mills Lake soon 
after his coming there in 1854. Eobert Good- 
year, also, was a pioneer in apple culture, and 
he did much to stimulate a taste for horti- 
culture among our early settlers. 

During the summer of 1858 an attempt was 
made to start an educational institution at Jud- 
son Village. A stock company was formed and 
$800. raised, which was applied to purchase 
a frame building of T. E. Coulson and a 
bright young Baptist preacher, Eev. J. E. Ash, 
and his wife, were put in charge. They had 
a number of scholars, but after a year Eev. 
Ash moved to Mankato and the embryo college 
failed, A number of private high schools were. 





m ■ ^^^ ^' ' 

M.E. CHURCH -AM eor 





also, started at Maiikato by J. E. Beatty, 0. 0. 
Pitcher, W. L. Coon, and others. This year 
Rev. Jas. Thompson, whose special hobby was 
education, got an act through the Legislature 
incorporating the "Southern Minnesota Uni- 
versity," and in September he was elected presi- 
dent; General J. E. Tourtellotte, Secretary, and 
on Nov. 10th a preparatory department was 
opened at Mankato with Rev: Hugh A. McKel- 
vey and wife as teachers. The school ran for 
just one term and then failed for want of 

Reports from twenty-three public schools in 
the county showed 1,057 children of school age, 
and the school money amounting to $2,387.98 
was apportioned to them. 

On Dee. 5th, 1858, a Baptist church was 
organized at Judson and at the same time and 
place was organized the "Minnesota Valley Bap- 
tist Association," to embrace Blue Earth, Nicol- 
let, Le Sueur and Waseca Counties. 

In the fall of this year the Farmers' Bank 
of Garden City was started by J. H. Dawes. 
Another bank started at Mankato, but neither 
were very substantial or did much real bank- 
ing business. 

On September 18, 1858 the Republican Con- 
vention met at Mankato and as list of dele- 
gates recalls so manv prominent old settlers we 
give it entire: Mankato, Cramer Burt, A. D. 
Seward, W. W. Clark, P. Wistar, J. C. Haupt, 
H. E. L. Gude and H. DuBuison; South Bend, 
B. Park Dewey, P. Eckstrom and T. M. Pugh ; 
•Tudson, Robert Patterson, Au?. Tidland and 
John I. Jones; Butternut Valley, John S. 
Davies, David J. Davies and Daniel L. Williams-, 
Ceresco, Isaac Slocum, James Wilson and Dr. 
J. 0. Tibil; Vernon, Col. B. P. Smith, James 
Oonnel and John A. Darling; Watonwan, Wil- 
liam Hanna, A. J. Jewett and John Dillev; 
Danville. Lucius Dver; Sbelbyville, Rev. J. W. 
Powell. R. Crandall and J. P. Stoek, Maple- 
ton; Rev. J. E. Conrad, Robt. Tavlor and 
John Henderson. At the election, held Octo- 
ber, 1858, there were over 1.000 votes cast in 
tbe county. The Republicans won bv a small 
marsrin and elected about half of the countv 
officers. To show the increase of propertv dur- 
ing first five years of, its history we give the 

assessed valuation of each year: 1853, $5,000.00; 
1854, $37,529.00; 1855, $43,609.00; 1856, 
$141,377.44; 1857, $310,659.00. 

On January 5th, 1859, Mankato and South" 
Bend secured daily mail service to St. Paul 
for the first time. In February, 1859, there 
was much activity among the militia companies 
of the county. The Mankato Company received 
new arms and uniforms, and the streets of 
Mankato were enlivened by frequent drills under 
Captain Guenther. The Garden City Sharp- 
shooters re-organized under the new law, with 
T. E. Potter as Captain, and having sixty mem- 
bers, rank and file. On March 2nd, 1859 the 
Mankato Artillery Company was organized with 
the following officers: 

Captain, James Shoemaker. 
First Lieutenant, Sumner Hylan. 
iSeeond Lieutenant, Jas. B. Hubbell. 
Third Lieutenant, Edwin Bradley. 
First Sargeant, L. D. Patterson. 
Second Sargeant, Chas. A. Chapman. 
Third Sargeant, George A. Clark. 
Fourth Sargeant, Chas. Mansfield. 
Ensign. Joshua Wolahen. 
First Corporal, Fred C. Roosevelt. 
Second Corporal, T. C Bevans. 
Third Corporal, G. L. Turner. 
Fourth Corporal, L. C. Johnson. 

The rank and file numbered 40 men. During 
the winter large public meetings were held at 
Mankato, South Bend and Le Hillier to agitate 
the matter of removing the Winnebagoes from 
the county, and strong resolutions were sent to 
Congress asking speedy action. The cause which 
incited at this time the feeling against the 
Winnebagoes, and which perhaps stirred up the 
military spirit of the county', was the shooting 
in January, 1859, at the Town of Danville, of 
one John Bums by a Winnebago. Indian. It 
seems that Burns had been furnishing the In- 
dians on the quiet a little "fire water," and 
this was at the bottom of the trouble. 

The winter of 1858-59 was another very 
mild one. The rivers broke up in January and 
again about the middle of March. On the 24th 
of l\Tarch the new bridge across the Blue Earth 
at Vernon was swept away by the freshet, while 
the two new bridges at Garden City, as well as 
the one at Watonwan, barely escaped. Some of 
ilie settlers this year seeded as early as February 
and had good crops. On February 10th, 1859, 



the Board of Supervisors appointed John A. 
Willard, County Attorney at a salary of $300.00 
per annum. 

At the town elections held in April, 1859, 
many new chairmen of Supervisors were elected 
and these met as a new Board of County Sup- 
ervisors on May 35th, 1859. The members of 
tJiis new board were: 

Lyman Matthews, chairman, South Bend. 
H. K. and C. S. Dunscomb, Mankato. 
Anthony J. Crisp, Judson. 
George Owens, Butternut Valley. 
John M. Mead, Ceresco. 
Theodore E. Potter, Watonwan. 
Thos. S. Hays, Vernon Center. 
Rudolph Crandall, Shelby. 
James Cornell, Mapleton. 
Timothy Sullivan, Jamestown. 
Lucius Dyer, Danville. 
Evans Goodrich, Lime. 

The majority of this board being Republi- 
cans, at their first meeting they appointed B. 
Parke Dewey, an active worker in that party, 
and a young attorney of promise, as County 
Attorney in place of Mr. Willard and fixed his 
salary at $200.00 a year; they also made the 
"Mankato Independent" the ofEicial county pa- 
per. On June 1st the Independent moved its 
office to the rear of the second story of the 
Tjeech building. Declaring it the ofEicial paper 
\!&s not a mere matter of form but rather get- 
ting things in order to welcome a rival. Poli- 
tics in those days were very intense and bitter. 
Mr. Hensley when he first Came to Mankato 
had intended to run his paper to accord with 
its name of "Independent," but the suction of 
the political current, as it approached the great 
cataract of the Civil War was too strong for a 
man of his convictions and temperament. He 
was an able, forcible writer and soon made his 
paper ring with Republican editorials. The 
more he pleased his Republican readers, the less 
his paper suited his Democratic patrons. The 
latter concluded after their defeat in the election 
of 1858 that if their party was to maintain its 
position in the county, it must have an organ 
of its own. The matter was discussed by a 
number of invited Democratic leaders at a 
m^eeting held at Mankato. Finally they suc- 
ceeded in inducing John C. Wise, recent editor 
of the "Superior City Chronicle," to come to 
Mankato and start a Democratic paper. He 

came early in June to look the ground over and, 
being favorably impressed, sent at once for his 
printing outfit, which arrived on the 34th of 
that month on the Jennette Roberts. This 
new Journalistic venture was christened "The 
Mankato Record" and its first issue, dated July 
5th, 1859, appeared on the afternoon of July 
4th, 1859, when a big celebration was booked, at 
Mankato. A cold rain neccessitated the post- 
ponement of the celebration to the next day. 
The New Ulm and Mankato bands, the Man- 
kato Rifles under Capt. Guenther, and the 
Turner Society were features of the parade. An 
oration by Senator Wilkinson and a picnic din- 
ner in the grove near Warrens Creek, were the 
tM'O other principal events of the day. 

The celebration gave the new editor a good 
opportunity to meet the people and become ac- 
quainted. The Democrats of the county could 
not have made a better selection to champion 
their principles than John C. Wise. Personally 
he possessed all the elements of a popular leader. 
Genial, kind, and warm hearted he made a host 
of friends among his opponents. His democratic 
ways made him accessible to everybody, no mat- 
ter what their station in life or their political 
views. This kept him in touch with all the 
people of the county and the events of their 
lives. In those days no country editor could 
afford to keep a reporter, but Mr. Wise did not 
need any. Everybody reported to him. He was 
a very ready and able writer, and his wonderful 
knowledge of men and events made his paper 
always one of the best and most influential of 
the country journals of the state. Hundreds of 
Republicans were constantly on its list of sub- 

On April 15th, 1859, a treaty was made at 
Washington with representatives of the Win- 
nebago Indians, whereby they ceded the west 
two-thirds of their reservation in Blue Earth 
County and were to be allotted eighty acre 
farms in severalty on the balance of their land. 
Owing to the change of administration and the 
troublous times, which soon followed, the provis- 
ions of the treaty were never consummated. 

Navigation was fairly good on the Minnesota 
this year, though not up to the previous year. 
The Freighter, which arrived at Mankato, on 


10 1 

March 27thj was the first boat. In. the latter 
part of June^ during a period of high water, 
this boat ascended the Minnesota with intent to 
get into Big Stone Lake and, passing thence 
along the swale which connects that lake with 
Lake Traverse, got into the Eed Eiver. The 
scheme might have succeeded, but the crew got 
drunk at New Ulm, and before they sobered off, 
the freshet was over and their boat got stuck 
in the mud about two miles below the Big Stone 
outlet, where the keel remained for many years 
to commemorate the event. In all there were 
103 boat arrivals from St. Paul and twenty- 
nine from the west, total 131, at the Mankato 
levee. The Franklia Steel made nineteen 
of these from St. Paul and eleven from the 
west, the Favorite forty-four from St. Paul 
and four from the west, and the Jennette Eob- 
erts 31 from St. Paul and 8 from the west. 
Besides the steamboats, the flat boats, built by 
Cleveland and Butterfield, called the "Minneopa" 
and "Victor," were operated for most of the 
season during low water. 

From newspaper reports of this year we learn 
that Mankato had a population of about 1,000. 
That it had nineteen stores, five hotels, two 
saw mills, to one of which (Seward Co.) a large 
grist mill was attached in December, five re- 
hgious societies, (Presbyterian, Catholic, Metho- 
dist, Baptist and Universalist), two newspapers, 
one or two brickyards and lime kilns. West 
Mankato possessed a good hotel and a saw mill. 
Le Hillier had a stone hotel, a good school, a 
lyceum, and several buildings. South Bend had 
a big hotel, two saw mills, five stores, two or 
three religious societies, and a population .of 
about two hundred and fifty to three hundred, 
Judson had a fine saw mill, two stores, an acad- 
emy, and some thirty dwellings. Garden City 
had a good hotel, two mills (the Yankee mill 
having three riin of stones and capacity for 
1,500 bushels daily), two stores, a bank, a pub- 
lic hall, an armory, a post office, a school house, 
two religious societies, and a population of about 
one hundred and seventy. Watonwan had a 
mill and a good hotel, kept by D. D. Hunter. 
Vernon had two or three stores, a hotel, post 
office, two mills, one or two religious societies, 
and a population of about 100. Shelbyville pos- 

sessed two miUs, three stores, hotel, postoffice, 
an M. E. church, and a population of 100, 
Mapleton had a store and mill, and there were 
mills at varioTjis other points in the county, and 
a number of wooden bridges had been con- 
structed. This is only a birds eye glance over 
the county and is not intended by any means to 
cover aU. the industries of any village in detail. 

Prairie fires were very destructive in the fall 
at Shelby, Danville and other towns. In July, 
1860, Wm. J. Dexter of Davis, Smith and Dex- 
ter, proprietors of "Bank of Fox Lake, Wis.," 
and of "Farmers Bank of Garden City, Minn.," 
opened a bank at Mankato. 

During this and the previous summer much 
interest was taken in Minneopa Falls. Artists 
from St. Paul, St. Anthony, and elsewhere vis- 
ited it and made pictures of it. Picnic parties 
from St. Peter, Traverse, Mankato and other 
points resorted to it. 

A military company was organized at Win- 
nebago Agency on Aug. 2, 1859, with Dr. Cole- 
man as captain and Asa White as first lieu- 
tenant. Originally there were thirty members 
which in a month increased to forty-eight. They 
were equipped with MLonie rifles and all neces- 
sary accoutrements from the state armory. On 
Aug. 3rd and 4th Major CuUen came to Man- 
kato and paid the voli;inteeTS, who had served 
in the defense of the frontier during the Inkpa- 
dutah massacre. Dr. Lewis' company received 
about $12.00 to $13.00 apiece. Congress had 
appropriated on June 14, 1858, $30,000.00, but 
$1,163.81 had been used in expenses of in- 
vestigation of causes of the massacre. The bal- 
ance was used in paying claims of volunteer 
expeditions, search for, and ransom of female 
captives, and loss of property. The aggregate 
claims reached $46,232.62 and of these $25,- 
114.91 were approved by Major CuUen, and 
were paid pro rata. The home guard com- 
panies did not receive anything for their ser- 

On October 7, 1859, was held the flrst fair in 
our county. The place was the farm of Miner 
Porter, which adjoined the village of South 
Bend. Daniel Buck, afterward Judge of Su- 
preme Court, but then a lawyer and postmaster 
at South Bend was the orator of the occasion. 



Messrs. Porter and Buck were rauch. interested 
in agricultural and horticultural matters and it 
•vvas mainly through their efforts that the Blue 
Earth County Agricultural Society was organ- 
ized, and this year its first fair was gotten up. 

The fall election of 1859 was very hotly con- 
tested throughout the state. The fact that the 
two great parties were about evenly balanced in our 
commonwealth and were sparring for every ad- 
vantage preparatory to the Presidential cam- 
paign, gave to this Minnesota election national 
interest. Both parties sent into the state their 
best speakers, a number of whom spoke at Man- 
kato. On the Eepublican side our people lis- 
tened to Hon. Frank P. Blair of Missouri, Carl 
Schurz of Wisconsin, and Galusha A. Grow of 
Pennsylvania, and fully equal to these imported 
orators, were our own. Gen. J. H. Baker and 
Morton S. Wilkiason. On the Democratic side 
Gov. A. P. WiUard of Ind., Hon. Chas. H. 
Larabee of Wis., Gen. James Shields, James M. 
Cavauaugh, Geo. L. Becker, of Minn., and Mr. 
lioth of Wis. The Democrats held their county 
convention at Besser's hall in Garden City. The 
list of delegates were: Mankato, Louis Stroaker, 
M. T. Comstock, S. M. Walker, Isaac Marks, 
James Besser and Clements Kron; Jamestown, 
T. Sullivan, Solon Webster and J. Meagher; 
South Bend, Benj. McGiven, Geo. M. Keenan, 
Wm. Hewitt and S. Farnham; Watonwan, J. 
Daggett, Jas. A. Wiswell, J. K. Mead and J. 
K. Capwell; Shelby ville, A. D. Pinkerton, John 
Dimond and Wash. Kaggerice; Mapleton, Moses 
Herman, Benjamin Corp and C. T. Francis; 
Danville, Nick Kremer, J. L. Sampson and Jas. 
Shoemaker; Judson, David Dackins, T. E. Coul- 
son and B. Comstock; Butternut Valley, Samuel 
B. Shaw, Peter McGivney and David P. Davis; 
Lime, Evans Goodrich, Michael Hund and Hiram 
J. Fuller; Vernon, Nathan Bass, L. F. True 
and S. Higbee; Ceresco, John Mitchell, John 
Porter and A. B. Barney; at large, Daniel Buck 
and J. Travis Eosser. 

At the election which occurred Oct. 11, 1859, 
the Eepublicans were victorious and for the first 
time elected their entire county ticket. D. C. 
Evans was chosen State Senator; Henry Stock, 
Eepresentative; Dan. Tyner, Sheriff; J. B. Hub- 

bell, Eegister of Deeds; and H. DuBuisson, 
Treasurer. The total vote of the county was 

In December, 1859, Morton S. Wilkinson was 
elected to the United States Senate, the first 
and only resident of Blue Earth County ever 
chosen to that office. 

The bar of Blue Earth County, in 1859, 
contaiued a number of able attorneys. At Man- 
kato were: Wilkinson & Burt, Willard & Bar- 
ney, Eosser & Lobdell and Tourtellotte & Pitcher ; 
South Bend had Daniel Buck and B. Parke 
Dewey; and Garden City possessed James A. 
Wiswell and S. B. James. In those days the 
court met in some public hall at Mankato. Some- 
times in what was known as "City HaU" and 
sometimes in a hall in the Leech stone building. 
In spite of such legal talent the administration 
of justice had its humorous side in those prima- 
tive days. It is said on good authority that one 
of the first boards of County Commissioners 
tried a divorce case and rendered a judgment 
therein, before they discovered their want of 
jurisdiction. Once an assault and battery case 
was tried before Squire Pfaff of Mankato. The 
evidence was overwhelming against the defend- 
ant and his only excuse was that the complain- 
ing witness had called him a 'liar." After an 
hour's deliberation the jury brought in the ver- 
dict "guilty, provided the court will assess the 
fine at no more than five dollars." The attor- 
ney for the prosecution objected to that form of 
verdict and the jury were sent back to correct 
it, as they had nothing to do with the amount 
of the fine. After two hours' deliberation they 
returned into the court with the verdict of "Not 
Guilty." The complaining witness happened to 
be a German and the jury were afraid to trust 
Squire Pfaff as to the fine. 

A man's wife ran away to St. Peter. The 
husband went to see a Mankato justice, who 
promptly issued a writ of replevin, and armed 
with this legal document the constable brought 
her home. An attorney told the justice after- 
wards that he could not replevy a human being, 
"But" retorted the Justice "I did it." Many 
interesting reminiscences are told of our pio- 
neer courts, but we must not further digress. 



On January 4, I860, all of town 108 range 35, 
except south tier of sections, was separated 
from Jamestown and organized into a town by 
itself, under the name of Lake. On the same 
date the town of Mapleton was severed from the 
town of Sherman and made an independent 
town, under the name of "Sterling," and the 
name of the town of Sherman on petition chang- 
ed to "Mapleton." On the same date, also, it 
appears that there were 28 school districts in 
actual existence in the county, in which there 
were 1,165 pupils. 

At its session in March, 1860, the Legislature 
abolished the Board of County Supervisors and 
went back to the old plan of governing counties 
by Commissioners. Accordingly, at a special 
election held ia Blue Earth County on April 3, 
1860, the following Commissioners were elected : 
Chas. Thompson, Chairman; Robert Taylor, W. 
H. Blackmer, J. M. Mead and R. H. Allen, 
all Republicans, and on June 6th, 1860, this 
board divided the county into five commissioner 
districts as follows : 

No. 1, Lime, Lake and Jamestown. 

No. 2, Mankato. 

No. 3, South Bend, Judson and Butternut Valley. 

No. 4, Ceresco, Watonwan, Vernon and Fox Lake. 

No. 5, Shelby, Sterling, Mapleton and Danville. 

June 5th, 1860, upon motion of Mr. Mead the 
County Commissioners in order to correct the 
error ia naming towns 106 and 107 in range 39, 
named the former "Fox Lake" and the latter 
"Ceresco" and thus the mistake was legally cor- 
rected, but as a matter of fact it was never done, 
for the old blunder continued in the record 
books of the county and finally prevailed. On 
June 8, 1860, the town of "Lake" had its name 
changed to "Tivoli," and on September 5th it 

was again changed on petition to "Le Ray." 

The winter of 1859-60 was rather open, ex- 
cept for a few weeks in the last of December 
and first part of January. By February the 
snow was mostly gone and some seeding was 
done in the latter part of February. On March 
10th the rivers were clear of ice. On March 
22 d the "Time and Tide" arrived at Mankato 
and South Bend, as the first boat of the season. 
As there had not been much snow the water was 
quite low, and navigation poor all summer. 
The larger boats could only reach Mankato a 
few days in April, and again for three or four 
days in June. A few of the smaller boats, 
like the "Little Dorrit," "Eloian" and "Albany," 
were able to ascend the river, except for a short 
period ia mid summer. The Albany was a 
new boat this year and built expressly for low 
water. The old settlers used to say that she 
only needed a light dew to run. Mr. Cleveland's 
two barges were, also, kept in constant opera- 
tion and did good service. A new bridge had 
been finished during the winter at Vernon, and 
another by Mr. McCarthy over the Le Sueur. 

In March a large black bear nearly seven feet 
in length was killed in South Bend township on 
the Blue Earth and deer were still very plenty 
in the woods. The fur trade of those days was 
a big item and as indicative of the number of 
wild animals still found ia the county, the one 
firm of White & Marks, at Mankato, bought and 
shipped during ten days in April the following 
furs : 2,150 muskrats, 130 minks, 19 coon, 21 
beavers, 16 otters, 2 wolves, total value $750.00. 
This gives some faint idea of what the fur 
trade of the whole county would amount to in 
a whole year. Many a pioneer depended largely 
on this trade for much of his living. 



The census of 1860 showed the total popu- In the spring of this year the Pikes Peak 

lation of Blue Earth County to be 4,827, farms gold fever prevailed and a number of persons 

491, manufacturing establishments 191. Prom in our county vrere effected. Among these were 

the census taken June 1st, 1860 the following 1). C. Evans, W. H. Shepard and others. A 

table regarding the population of Blue Earth few weeks experience worked a complete cure 

County may be of interest: and all were glad to return. 

Name of Towns ' No. Dwellings No. Families Males Females Total The Indians aS USUal in those days managed 

CerescT*.^.^.'!"''. 60 I llo llo 230 *« contribute their share to the exciting events 

Danville 40 38 90 67 157 of the period. Early in the sprine: a large 

Fox Lake 18 16 32 37 69 j. j! ii, a- j. • j. ±1 /^i • 

Jamestown 61 58 120 110 230 '^^^ V^^^J °f ^^ ^^°'^'^ ^ent agamst the Chip- 

Judson 55 52 132 102 234 peways on the upper Mississippi, and returned 

Lime 64 61 133 100 233 : ,/ .,, /^ , j , 

Mankato 404 376 830 731 1561 i^ J^^^y With a few scalps and seventeen lodges' 

Mapleton 84 81 174 140 314 of them camped where north Mankato now 

Shelby 75 71 159 157 316 ^ i, j ^ iv, -j. t, j xi_ • 

South Bend 115 97 238 ■ 214 452 stands, while another band of them pitched their 

Watonwan 93 93 209 184 393 teepees below Mankato. For several days and 

Vernon 108 104 24o 237 482 . , , ,, , ,, 

nights the people at the county seat were regaled 

Total 1,212 1,137 2,560 2,267 4,827 ^.ith the music of the tom-tom and scalp dance. 

At Mankato this year Warren's Addition was Early in June a war party of the Chippeways 
platted, a large stone church was erected by the thirsting for vengeance appeared on . the scene 
Catholic society, and a number of new stores and a skirmish occurred near South Bend. The 
and manufacturing enterprises started. In July squaws and papooses when the foe appeared fled 
of this year (1860) Henry Thoms opened at to the cabins of the settlers for protection like a 
Mankato the first barbershop in the county. Pro- covey of partridges before the hawk, 
bably after this the typical hirsute aspect of This year claims for damages resulting from 
the frontier among us began to disappear. the Inkpadutah war were proved before George 
About April 1st, the Mankato Hook and Lad- L. Becker as Commissioner and $16,679.97 paid, 
der Co., was organized at the city hall, — the first Fourth of July celebrations were held in 1860 
fire company in the county. Among its first at Mankato, Winnebago Agency, South Bend, 
officers were: President, Edward E. Parry, Vice Vernon and Butternut Valley. At Mankato 
Pres. Z. Paddock; Secy., 0. 0. Pitcher; Treas., the program was in charge of the new fire corn- 
Isaac Marks; Board of Directors, James Shoe- pany, which appeared on the occasion in its 
maker, William H. Hodgson, W. Wycoff, Jas. B. new uniform of gray shirts, black pantaloons, 
Hubbell and Edwin Bradley. patent leather belts, and blue cloth caps, trim- 
In July 1860, the Independent and the med with gold lace and letters. Beside the 
Pecord were both changed from weekly to fire company, the Mankato Eifle Company under 
semi weekly papers. In October M. T. C. Capt. Ulman and the Artillery Company under 
Fowler bought of Capt. Joseph Guenther, the Capt.- Patterson were big features of the parade, 
building called Union Hall and converted it in- which was in charge of Col. Tourtellotte as 
to a hotel with the name "Clifton House." Marshall, Fred C. Eoosevelt, as Aid and Dan H. 
At South Bend the building of a steam grist Tyner as Assistant. Attorney Cramer Burt 
mill, then the largest in the county, by McCauley delivered the address. At Garden City Daniel 
and McNamara was the principal event of the Buck and General James H. Baker delivered ad- 
year. It was completed by October and did a dresses. 

flourishing business for a time. Miner ■ Porter The public schools of the county were now 

built on what is now the McConnell farm a well started. Log schoolhouses were the universal 

summer hotel which he called Minneopa rule in village and country, but soon good work 

House. It was surrounded with a profusion of was being done in these primitive educational 

shrubbery, trees and flowers and enclosed by an edifices. There were 1085 children reported in 

artistic fence with high arching gates. the public schools on the first of the year, be- 



sides the large number attending private high 
schools. In June of this year, Ira S. Smith 
was appointed the first County Superintendent, 
of schools. In those days there was no home- 
stead law, and the settlers had made all their 
claims under the preemption act, which re- 
quired a payment of $1.35 per acre to the 
government. In July 1860 the lands in Minne- 
sota were forced to sale, which meant that 
every settler must pay for his land within a 
given time or lose it. This produced conster- 
nation among all the settlers as all were very 
poor and interest rates were exorbitant, none 
less than 12 per cent and much going as high 
as 25 per cent. On the 24th of July, 1860, the 
settlers of Blue Earth county met at Mankato 
in mass convention, to protest against the undue 
haste of the government in crowding the pay- 
ment in so unseasonable a time, but it did not 
avail. The money loaners reaped a rich harvest 
and the settlers had to grin and bear it though 
a number of them in the end lost their farms. 

While the election of M. S. Wilkinson to the 
U. S. Senate lost to the Bar of the county one 
of its most brilliant members, the coming to 
Mankato of Judge Franklin H. Waite in the 
fall of this year, kept up its reputation. For 
what the Judge might have lacked in brillian- 
cy compared to Wilkinson, he more than made 
up in industry. 

On October 2nd and 3rd, 1860, the second 
county fair was held at Garden City. Judge 
Flandrau was the orator of the occasion. 

PoHtics this year was at a white heat in Blue 
Earth County, as elsewhere through the country. 
Republican clubs, Lincoln, and Wide Awake 
Clubs, and Democratic and Douglass Clubs were 
organized everywhere and liberty poles erected. 
The people were wild with enthusiasm. They 
argued, debated, orated, sang campaign songs, 
built log cabins, and carried fence rails on their 
shoulders. They hoorahed for the "Little Giant" 
and for "Honest Abe" until their throats were 
cracked. The Republicans won out in Blue Earth 
County electing aU their candidates, except the 
state senator for which oSice S. F. Barmey was 
chosen with the aid of Le Sueur County. 

In November of this year the VaUey Stage 
Co., began with relay of horses, to carry the 

mail through from St. Paul to Mankato in one 

The river closed on November 23nd, when the 
first snow fell. Up to this time the weather had 
been fine and farmers were able to plow. Crops 
had been fairly good over the county, but prices 
were very low. Wheat only brought thirty to 
thirty-five cents per bushel, pork about one to 
two cents per pound. Owing to the low stage of 
water the warehouses in South Bend and Man- 
kato had been left unemptied, and hence buy- 
ers could not purchase more. The winter was 
quite severe with a heavy fall of snow, which 
did not melt until the first week in April. The 
resulting fioods were the highest for many years. 
The Jennette Roberts was the first boat on April, 
10th, 1861. 

The report of MaJ. Mix agent of the Winne- 
bago Indians for the year 1860 showed the total 
number of red men at this agency to be about 
3,106, or nearly 400 families, of the number 
706 were females and 878 children. About 200 
resided oflE the reservation, mostly in Wisconsin. 
There were 1,600 acres of land cultivated that 
year by the Indians, fourteen families of them 
raised enough wheat and oats .for their own 
use. There had been 260 cases of small pox 
among them during the year, forty -three of 
which had proved fatal. The school at the 
agency had been in charge of Supt. W. E. Cul- 
]en; two interpreters had been employed; 118 
pupils enrolled, 62 males and fifty-eight females, 
F.nd the average attendance was 71 1-2. The 
branches taught were orthography, reading, writ- 
ing, arithmetic, geography and grammar. The 
girls were also taught house work. This gives 
us a glimpse of Indian Agency life in Blue 
Earth County. Many of its most prominent 
features, however, were not incorporated in the 
report. The number of gallons of whisky con- 
sumed, the quarrels between themselves, and 
between them and the whites, the stealing from 
the Indians by the whites, and from the whites 
by the Indians, the filth and degradation every- 

In March, 1861, the Winnebago Treaty made in 
April, 1859, whereby the Indians ceded the west 
four townships of their reservation and were to 
be alloted an eighty-acre farm to each family. 



was ratified by the senate. General J. H. Baker, 
Mr. Walcott of Ind. and Mr. Sample of 111., 
were appointed to make the allotment of the 
farms, which they did during the summer of this 
year. It was found that there were 650 persons 
entitled to farms under the treaty. The num- 
ber of acres actually assigned to the Indians 
as farms were 45,787, and there was assigned 
for the use of the Indians besides 10,800 
acres of timber land, and 8,800 acres of prairie. 
This only took up four townships of their Keser- 
vation in all and left six townships to be sold 
to white settlers, four and two thirds of which 
were located in Blue Earth County. Nothing 
further was done in the matter, as the delays 
incident to the distraction of the Civil War, to 
the objection of the Indians to such a radi- 
cal change of their ancestral rights and customs, 
and to the protests of the citizens, who wanted 
the Indians removed all together, postponed 
action until the great Sioux outbreak of the 
next year necessitated the abrogation of the 
whole treaty. 

During 1861 the agent's report showed the num- 
ber of acres cultivated by the Winnebagoes to have 
been 675; 300 plowed by the department and 
475 by the Indians. One hundred and twelve 
acres were in wheat, forty-nine in oats, 440 acres 
in corn, twenty-two in potatoes and forty acres 
in beans. There were 129 pupils in the Indian 

The election of Lincoln and the consequent 
change of administration, called forth a wild 
scramble for office among the Eepublicans. D. 
C. Evans was a candidate for the position of 
Agent of the Winnebagoes. Being a Blue Earth 
County man, where the Agency was located, and 
having, as State Senator, done valiant service for 
Senator Wilkinson, he was supposed to have the 
inside track, but he and all the other candidates 
from this county were doomed to disappointment, 
and St. A. D. Balcombe of Winona was appoint- 
ed. Dr. M. R. Wickersham was made Indian 
physician. J. B. Hubbell, also, succeeded Henry 
Poster as trader at the Agency. Mr. Poster, 
however, removed his store into Mankato town, 
just outside the Agency limits, where he con- 
tinued in business until the departure of the 
Indians. In April, 1861, Eev. John Kerns the 

pioneer M. B. preacher of the county was ap- 
pointed receiver of the U. S. Land office at St. 

The question of removing the county seat 
from Mankato to Garden City began to be agi- 
tated by some of the citizens of the latter place 
and a bill introduced in the Legislature this 
year to that effect, but it failed of passage. 

The firing on Pt. Sumpter, which heralded the 
beginning of the Civil War, created a profound 
sensation in Blue Earth County as elsewhere. 
On April 14, 1861, the steamboat Pavorite pass- 
ed down the river, with 80 officers and men of 
the regular army under Major Pemberton from 
Pt. Eidgely, whence they had been ordered south 
to help quell the rebellion. They were nearly all 
southern men and during the short time the 
boat stopped at Mankato, the people were greatlj 
disgusted with their outspoken secession senti- 
ments. The government paid the Pavorite $3,- 
500.00 for transporting these secessionists to La 
Crosse, and as much more to carry them thence 
tc Washington, and then, almost to a man, 
they went into the Confederate army, and Major 
Pemberton became the noted rebel general of 
that name. 

On April 23, 1861, a company was enlisted 
at Mankato with N. W. Dickerson as Captain, 
Chas. Reynolds as first Lieutenant and J. E. 
Beatty as second Lieutenant. Sargeants, 1st, B. 
P. Dewey, 3nd, Thos. Quayle, 3rd, Daniel Ha- 
zen, 4th S. D. Parsons; Corporals, 1st, H. W. 
Lambert, 2nd, William H. Fleining, 3rd B. P. 
Williams, 4th, L. N. Holmes, Bugler, Ben M. 

Capt. James Cannon who had belonged to 
tlie militia in New York acted as drilling officer. 
$1,000.00 was raised by subscription for the 
families of the volunteers. It only took three 
days to raise the company. About seventy-five 
of the men were from Mankato -and the re- 
maining 25 came from Garden City and Shelby. 
The evening before the departure of the com- 
pany for Port Snelling a public meeting was 
held at Masonic Hall, Mankato, to bid the boys 
God speed, and the ladies presented them with a 
large new flag. The next morning (July 4th, 
1861) the company formed in line in front of 
the Leech building, and thence marched up 



Front street to the City Hall which stood about 
where the Hodson & Davy implement store is 
now located where they were met by a big pro- 
cession of Sabbath school children and a great 
crowd of men and women. Preceded by the 
band and the children in marching order, they 
were escorted on their way to Fort Snelling 
as far as where the Franklin school now stands. 
Here the children formed open ranks and sang 
while the soldiers led by Capt. Dickerson mar- 
ched between them. A few parting words from 
the good old pastor, Eev. Thompson, closing with 
a prayer. A neat copy of the Bible was handed 
to each soldier. Then came the final parting 
with many tears from father, mother, sister, 
brother, sweetheart, wife, children and friends 
and the brave boys in blue were off to the war, 
many of them never to return. This is but 
typical of thousands of similar scenes all over 
the land in those trying days of the great 
Civil War. We of today hardly imagine the 
terrible reality of those trying days. 

This first contingent for our great war 
failed to get into the first Minnesota regiment, 
as a company, but a number of individuals en- 
listed in it by joining other companies. Others 
entered the service later. 

Next day (April 16th) the Fanny Harris 
arrived from Fort Eidgely with Major Thos. 
W. Sherman and a portion of his command, 
the balance having gone on foot across to St. 
Peter. They were also, bound for southern battle 
fields. On April 26th the Favorite passed down 
the river with a company of Artillery in com- 
mand of Maj. Morris on their way to the seat 
of waf. Hardly 30 men were now left at Port 
Bidgely. Perhaps the first to enlist from the 
county was Ed. E. Parry who, on May 11, 
1861, was commissioned 1st Lieutenant in 11th 
Regiment, Regular Army. George Evans of Gar- 
den City was -probably the first to enlist as a vol- 
unteer. He happened to be back in Boston on 
a visit when the war broke out and at once joined 
the 1st Massachusetts. 

At Mankato the stars and stripes was hoisted 
over both the Democratic and Eepublican head- 
quarters, and in every village through the 
county Union poles were raised with old glory 
flying from their tops. Everywhere Democrats 

and Republicans, men and women were fired 
with patriotic zeal for the union. 

In September a volunteer cavalry company 
under Capt. B. F. Smith, which had been re- 
cruited at Vernon, Garden City and Shelby, 
tendered its services to the g(Jvernor. This com- 
pany had been organized in the Armory at 
Garden City about the middle of May, 1861, as 
a home guard. Thirty-seven members were en- 
rolled at the first meeting and the following offi- 
cers chosen: Captain B. F. Smith, 1st Lieut. 
Dr. J. W. B. Welcome, 2nd Lieut. Nathan Bass; 
3rd Lieut. W. H. MiUer of Shelby; Ensign J. 
A. Reed, 1st Sargeant, Edson Gary, 2nd Sar- 
gent, Marshall T. Fall; 3rd Sargeant, M. T. 
Walbridge, 4th Sargent, T. S. Hayes; 1st cor- 
poral, David Hamlin, 2nd Corporal John A. 
Darling; 3rd Corporal B. A. Cooper; 4th Cor- 
poral E. B. Evans; Bugler George Harriman; 
Secretary William H. Hills. About the first of 
June they received fifty sabers, belts, holsters, 
pistols, etc., from the state arsenal and spent 
much time in drilling. 

At Garden City there had been a flourishing 
militia company since the Inkpadutah war. Its 
captain at this time was one Rice. On September 
28th Mrs. Potter and Mrs. Ray in behalf of 
the ladies of Garden City presented this com- 
pany with a fine silk flag in anticipation that 
their proffered service to their country would 
soon be accepted. 

On June 15, 1861, a war meeting was held at 
Shelbyville and another military company or- 
ganized, the officers of which were Captain 
H. W. Oilman, 1st Lieut. W. H. Blackmer ; 2nd 
Lieut. A. Miller; 3rd. Lieut. Daniel Fagen; 
and Orderly Sargent E. S. Knowles. 

On June 3rd, 1861 the first session of the U. 
S. Court was held at Mankato in the Masonic 
Hall. J. R. Cleveland was appointed its first 
U. S. Marshall. 

Besides the furs he captured the pioneer had 
another important source of revenue in the gin- 
seng root. The women and children claimed 
the right to this branch of industry fully more 
than the men. In those good old days it was 
no uncommon sight in the proper season of the 
year, to see bands of women and children with 
h"^ tied over their shoulders and armed with 



hoes, roaming the forests in quest of the Chin- 
efe drug. In 1860, 83,000 pounds were gath- 
ered in Blue Earth county, which at eight 
cents per pound netted the gatherers $6,640. 

The steamboat trade of the year was excel- 
lent. The Minnesota Packet Company put upon 
the river two of the largest boats that had yet 
navigated it, "The City Belle" and "The Fanny 
Harris." Among the other boats of this season 
were the Jennette Eoberts, Favorite, ' Eolian, Al- 
bany and Frank Steel. 

As indicating the progress of the country in 
horticulture it may be noted that Kobert Good- 
year, the principal gardener of that day had 
from 12,000 to 15,000 standard apple trees. The 
County Fair this year was held at South Bend. 
In the early part of the winter McCauley and 
McNainara leased their South Bend grist mill to 
a Mr. Pugh of Wisconsin, and took a lease short- 
ly afterwards from the "West Mankato Com- 
pany" of the steam saw mill owned by them 
and located near the Blue Earth river bridge. 

The great Civil War was now on in earnest 
and the music of the fife and drum resounded 
from one end of the country to the other. The 
fathers and the sons were enlisting and the moth- 
ers and daughters were busy day and night fit- 
ting out the soldiers with hundreds of things 
required for their army life". The whole land 
was ablaze with patriotism. The flag was every- 
where in evidence. Half the men you met were 
dressed in uniforms. Squads of men were drill- 
ing in every village street, and every country 
crossroad. Even the school children were in- 
fected with the war spirit and everywhere 
played soldiers. 

The men of Col. B. F. Smith's Cavalry Com- 
pany from Vernon were mustered in on Nov. 
8th, 1861. Col. Smith himself was promoted 
Lieutenant Colonel of the 3rd regiment. Wil- 
liam Smith was chosen 1st Lieutenant and Na- 
than Bass 2nd Lieutenant. At Mankato J. B. 
Tourtellotte raised another company, called the 
"Valley Shooters." 

The winter of 1861-2 was quite severe with 
much snow. Between February 28th and March 
3rd, one of the heaviest snow storms in the 
history of the country occurred and the land 
was buried beneath mountain drifts. It took 

days for companies of men with ox teams, snow 
plows and shovels to open the roads for travel. 
The middle of April 1863 saw in every river 
a tremendous flood, and the bridges all over the 
county were swept away. The government bridge 
over the Blue Earth at Mankato was among 
the rest, and no bridge was left on this river in 
the county. The bridges on the Watonwan suf- 
fered nearly as bad. The bridge over the Le 
Sueur on the Agency road, which Mr. Mc- 
Carty had mostly built at his own expense, was 
swept away. The bridges in Butternut Val- 
ley, Shelby and Sterling were mostly destroyed. 
The mills of the county, also, suffered severely. 
The mill of Seward & Co., in Mankato, was in 
water to the roof. The Butterfield mill was 
swept away bodily, with the warehouses, wheat 
and flour. All the mills were greatly damaged. 
Lyman B. Stillson of Shelbyville, whose home 
was on the river bank, attempted to escape 
in a small boat with his wife and four children. 
When in mid stream the boat was capsized by 
the swift current and three of the children were 
drowned, and the father and mother and little 
babe barely escaped. 

Another incident, which might have resulted 
tragically, but which in fact had a ludicrous 
ending, happened in the same locality a few days 
later. It illustrates how close together some times 
the comical and serious events of our life come. 
A gentleman of Shelby attempted to cross the 
Blue Earth River during this flood in a dug 
out. When half way over J;he boat upset and 
the man swam to some willows, whose tops 
emerged a few feet above the raging waters. 
Despairing of help he divested himself of his 
boots and all his clothing and hung each gar- 
ment on the clump of willows. In the pocket 
of his pataloons was $25.00 in gold. He then 
swam to the bank of the river opposite from his 
home, as it was the most convenient and he 
hoped to find a boat there not far off. He had 
barely gotten to shore and was expelling the 
water from his nose, eyes and ears when 
down the river came a monster log and made 
straight for that willow bush on which 
hung out friend's apparel and his $25.00, and 
in a few seconds the bush, clothes, money, 
boots and all disappeared before his eyes with 


the current. No boat could be found, and nei- May 27, 1862, the ladies of Mankato or- 
ther the cold water nor the cold air were specially ganized a soldiers Aid society, with Mrs. Judge 
congenial to our friend in his Adam-like cos- Waite as president, Mrs. H. Fowler, Vice Presi- 
tume. He finally managed to reach a settler's dent, Mrs. J. E. Cleveland, See}', and j\rrs. C. 
cabin and explained his embarrassing predica- A. Chapman, Treasurer. On June 5th this so- 
ment. Here he obtained some clothing and ciety elected permanent officers as follows: Presi- 
help to reach his home. ' dent, Mrs. D. H. Tyner; Vice Pres., Mrs. A. D. 
The first boat to reach Mankato this year Seward, Secy, Mrs. W. L. Coon, Treas. Mrs. 
was the Albany on April 13. There was a C. A. Chapman. Good work was done by it 
good stage of water nearly all summer and the to help the soldiers. On July 1, 1862, 
boats were kept busy. The arrivals at Mankato the first daily stage between Winona and Man- 
were, as follows: kato was started by the Burbanks Company. 

From Below ^* ^°°^ ^ ^^^ ^^^ ^ ^^^^ ^° ^^^^ ^^® *^^P' ^^ 

Favorite 9 July 1863 we note that from Mankato the mail 

SieEoberts-:::::::::::::::::::::::;:::::;:: Is left for winona and aiso for st. Paui every 

Clara Hine 8 week day at 4 A. M. ; for Blue Earth City and 

Ari^r"'' 2 intermediate points three times a week at 6 

G. H. Wilson 1 A. M., and for New Ulm once a week. Pour 

„ , J gg horse stages were used on the main routes. 

_ ' ' There were two or three other routes in the 
J^rom above: 

Jennette Roberts 8 co™ty, starting from other points. 

Favorite 1 On July 4, 1862 a big celebration was held 

Clara'^Hine '.'.'.'.'..'.'....'................... 1 ^^ ^^^ village of Judson. Cannon boomed, 

Pomeroy 1 processions of children and old people marched. 

J, + J 12 -A picnic dinner and addresses from Eevs. Stine, 
„ , , . 1 ■ ■, , T. S. Gunn and Jenkin Jenkins were the main- 
Period 'of navigation April 13 to July 20. P^^-^? °^ ^^^ program. 

As indicating the speed of the boats it is At Point Independence on Lake Lura in 

noted, that the Pavorite made the trip from Sterling another big celebration was held with 

St. Paul to Mankato in 19 hours including music and orations, and a big picnic dinner 

stoppages, and returned in twelve hours. Com- served by the ladies of Sterling and Mapleton 

petition between the boats cut the passenger to some five hundred people. At Tivoli Hon. 

rate to St. Paul to fifty cents for a few days J- J- Thornton spoke to an immense crowd and 

in June. By July over 62,000 bushels of a dinner was served. At Mankato Eev. Smith 

wheat was carried by them from Mankato orated. The Saxhorn band and the Sunday 

alone. The usual rate was five cents per bushel. School children were features of the parade. 

The passage of the Homestead Act greatly The patriotic spirit was intense in the land in 

stimulated immigration to our county in spite those days of the great war. During the latter 

of the drain of the Civil war. In June of this part of July and the first part of August, 1862, 

year a great many settlers located in Danville, there was great activity in fevery tovni in the 

' Mapleton, Sterling, Ceresco, Lincoln and But- county to recruit men for the war to fill the 

ternut Valley. About seventy homestead loca- quotas called for by the government. T. S. 

tions were made on Willow Creek in our county Slaughter, Jerome Dane, John E. Eoberts, Gen- 

during the spring and summer. eral James H. Baker and many others were 

In April, 1862, Henry Shaubut, J. C. Eausch holding war meeitings in nearly every school 

and Col. S. D. Shaw were appointed to appraise house and church in the county, and hundreds 

the school lands of the county, which duty they of men were enlisted for the 7th, 8th and 9th 

performed during the summer. Minnesota regiments. 





On August 15th 1862 most of the re- 
cruits from Blue Earth County left their place 
of rendezvous, Mankato, for Ft. Snelling. So en- 
grossed were the people everywhere in the 
great war that they never thought of any peril 
at their own doors. They did not realize, 
when the soldiers, and the able bodied men of 
every community and all the implements of 
war, were being sent to the southland to save 
the Union, that they were leaving their own 
homes defenseless in the presence of a terrible 
danger. The Sioux Indians had been rest- 
less for some time. The encroachments of civil- 
ization on barbarism is ever attended with fric- 
tion. To see their lands being appropriated 
by the whites and themselves being driven out 
naturally stirred up their envy and hatred. 
Then the advantages which a stronger race is 
sure to take of the weaker one fell to their lot 
in the greed and dishonesty of the trader, the 
whisky vendor, and the gambler. Then the 
government did not live up to its promises, 
so that the Indian was not receiving the annui- 
ties due him, partly through the dishonesty of 

have been taken away, to wreck their vengeance, 
regain their ancestral home, and reap a wonder- 
ful booty, (for to the Indian the abodes of the 
whites were full of good things). Under the 
circumstances it needed but a spark to cause 
explosion, and on August 17th, 1862, that 
was furnished. Half a dozen hot headed 
young bucks, while at Acton, Meeker county 
got into a quarrel with a whisky trader and 
shot him and two or three of his family and 
returned that night to their relatives and friends 
on the agency. A hurried council of the lower 
Sioux bands was called at midnight, and early 
next morning the awful massacre began. Before 
noon the small village of government officials 
and traders designated the "Lower Agency," 
had been sacked and burned and its inhabi- 
tants butchered, and Captain Marsh with half 
the little Et. Eidgely garrison had been anni- 
hilated in an ambush, and before the sun had 
set on that awful day the carnage had spread 
over the country for many miles. 

The story of the massacre is not within the 
scope of this history except in so far as the 

agents, and partly through careless delays. The same pertains to Blue Earth County, 
payment due the Sioux in June 1862 had not The first news of the outbreak reached New 

been received on August 18th and the delav Ulm a little after the noon hour through some 

had caused the Indians great suffering and refugees. William W. Paddock happened to be 

hardships. With hundreds of ugly savages, there at the time and, finding a Erenchman 

whose chief glory was war, massed upon an going to St. Paul with an extra pony, he rode 

agency, all armed with guns and ammunition, with him as far as Nicollet, thence walked to 

to the use of which they had been trained from the farm of Evan Bowen, afterwards sheriff 

their youth, ill disposed towards the whites and of our county. Mr. Bowen hitched his team 

with an opportunity now, that all defenses to a wagon and drove Mr. Paddock through 




.Tudson and South Bend to Mankato with the 
first report. The news was so startling that 
many at iirst would not believe it. Then there 
had been so many false rumors of Indian out- 
breaks that people were the more skeptical. 
Soon after Mr. Paddock had brought the re- 
port to Mankato the fire bell was rung and a 
public meeting was held to discuss the situa- 
tion. When the ISTew Ulm people realized from 
the fleeing settlers the reality and extent of the 
massacre, they dispatched three of their citi- 
zens in a light wagon to Mankato for help, 
where they arrived late in the evening, and 
made their report to the meeting. As many 
still doubted for want of definite information, 
it was decided to send five or six men to New 
Ulm to learn more of the particulars. Samuel 
Tate and- three or four others started soon 
after midnight. At day break James Shoe- 
maker and Dr. McMahan followed in a buggy. 
When the latter had gone just beyond Crisp's 
store in Judson, they saw some persons on horse- 
back coming toward them at full gallop and 
waving their arms. Fearing they might, be 
Indians Mr. Shoemaker and the doctor turned 
back and drove at full speed , to Crisp's store. 
The party proved to be Sam Tate and his com- 
panions. Near the Big Cottonwood they had 
met some refugees who had told them harrow- 
ing tales of what they had just seen and that 
the Indians were coming close at, hand killing 
and burning , all before them. Mr. Tate and his 
companions, were panic stricken, and were re- 
turning to Mankato as fast as their horses could 
take them. . 

A company had been partially recruited 
Monday .night at Mankato, Tuesday as one 
report after another reached our county seat, 
bringing more and more details of the dreadful 
tragedy, the people became thoroughly scared 
and began to realize how desperate the situation 
was. All labor ceased and. the anxiety was in- 
tense. Men and women gathered in groups to 
discuss the awful situation and to hear the latest 
loports. This was so all over the county. The 
farmers deserted their harvest fields and gathered, 
with their families into some one cabin in 
the neighborhood for protection, others hurried, 
to tlie nearest village to learn the latest news. 

At Mankato the day was spent in recruiting 
men for the company to send to the aid of New 
Ulm, and in gathering guns and ammunition. 
In the' evening another mass meeting was held 
at Higgins Hall and the organization of the 
volunteer company perfected. The momentous 
question was whether this company should go 
to New Ulm or stay to protect Mankato. Many 
advocated the latter course, claiming that their 
first duty was to protect their own families. The 
Winnebagoes were close to their doors and 
Tv^ere holding war dances and on the point of 
joining the Sioux in the outbreak. Every hour 
^\■as bringing fresh rumors of the strange be- 
ll a\'ior of this tribe. Then there was noth- 
ing to prevent the . Sioux from passing by 
New Ulm after getting the armed men shut in 
there, and fall upon the defenseless women aijd 
children of Mankato and South Bend. On the 
other hand B. P. Freeman, John F. Meagher, 
William Bierbauer and others argued, that if 
all the towns simply attempted to withstand 
ihe Indians singly, they would be attacked one 
by one, and all would perish. That singly 
no town could stand such a force, and that thb 
only way the whites could hope to check the 
onslaught of the savages was to mass their 
strength against them, and that New Ulm, as 
the first frontier town, was logically the strate- 
gic point,, which the whites must hold . at any 
cost. Fortunately for our county and the state 
the latter argument prevailed, and the majority 
voted to proceed next morning to New Ubn. 

It was determined to start at four o'clock 
in the morning, but about midnight the mill 
of Seward & Co. took fire. The clang of the 
fire bell frightened the people greatly for every- 
body thought that the Indians had come. The 
men rushed for their guns, the women- and 
children cried in their terror and, even when it 
was discovered that the alarm was due to the 
mill being on fire, the people were afraid to 
go to it, suspecting that the fire had been set 
by the Indians as a ruse to draw them away 
from their homes into an ambush. So the mill 
burned to the ground with out much effort 
having been made to save it. There was not 
much sleep that night and by morning many of 
the people were too exhausted to take the 

oE> M flpT-STfoiv &c e-t oo U. 



early start for New Ulm, and some, because 
of the pleadings of their terrified families, gave 
up going. Capt. Bierbauer and most of the 
company started soon after daybreak. Two or 
three hours later John F. Meaghsr, 0. 0. Pit- 
cher and others followed, riding as far as South 
Bend with the three New Ulm delegates, who 
had come for help the day before, and thence 
to New Ulm in a wagon with Morris Lewis 
of Cambria. The roster of the Mankato com- 
pany was as follows: 

Wm. Bierbauer, captain. 
John F. Meagher, first lieutenant. 
Henry Ruegg, second lieutenant. 
James Shoemaker, commissary sergeant. 
J. C. Haup, orderly sergeant. 
Henry Vahle, second orderly sergeant. 
Samuel D. ShaWj third sergeant. 
Leonard Johnson, fourth sergeant. 
Chas. Heilborn, first corporal. 
E. P. Freeman, second corporal. 
Petei Krost, third corporal. 
Benjamin Stannard, fourth corporal. 
James R. McMahan, surgeon. 

Privates : 

Andrews, George. 
Andrews, W. T. 
Andrus, Truman F. 
Andrews, F. M. 
Ash, F. M. 
Ash, Rev. J. R. 
Burgess, J. C. 
Bennett, Chas. 
Burns, Patrick. 
Bigler, Jacob. 
Bierbauer, Jacob. 
Blatt, Philip. 
Bandy, T. B. 
Bowles, James. 
Clough, M. 
Cheney, W. H. 
Cheney, B. F. 
Cheney, John W. 
Canfield, David A. 
Collins, A. M. 
Coffin, B. Y. 
Chilos, John C. 
Dole, Benedict. 
Davis, Thos. Y. 
Fassatt, John. 
Freundle, Adam. 
Fitterer, Theodore. 
Godfried, Chester. 
Gray, George. 
Haas, Joseph. 
Heinze, Chas. 
Houghton, Newell E. 
Hamlin, Micheal. 
Hunt, C. N. 
Jefferson, Adam. 
Jones, John C. 
Judge, H. L. 
Koek, E. J. 
iCron, Clements. 
T.auer, Wm. 
Lilley, Geo. 

Long, Wm. 
Lee, Lars. 
McMurtie. Hugh. 
Jlorris, Wm. 
Moser, Frank. 
Mycue, Elijah J. 
ISTicholson, John. 
Nicholson, Wm. A, 
Oberle, Xavier. 
Osterwald, H. 
Power, John. 
Pfaff, Peter. 
PhilippSj Anton. 
Porter, Geo. W. 
Porter, C. L. 
Porter, Dan. W. 
Plushy, John. 
Patches, David. 
Roberts, Geo. A. 
Reif, Emanuel. 
Roos, George. 
Roos, Chris.- 
Reiger, Thos. 
Rockey, W. fl. 
Soleate, Geo. 
Smith, Rev. A. G. 
Shaw. C. B. 
Shields, John. 
Tyler, Aaron. 
Tonner, Sarvais. 
Taylor, S. B. 
Tyner, Daniel H. 
Trask, J. W. 
T^lman, Peter. 
\'pigel, Chas. 
^'an Patten, Alfred S. 
\\ agoner, Oscar F. 
Wiscaver. John. 
Wood, Alexander. 
White, Asa. 
Wigley, Richard. 

Many of above did not join the company un- 
til they reached New Ulm. Nearly all such 
were from elsewhere in the county than Man- 
kato, and some were members of the South 
Bend company, who had stayed at New Ulm, 
v,hen their company left, and then joined the 
Mankato company. A few members of the 
Mankato company returned with the South 
Bend company before the battle and their 
names dropped from the roll. Of this number 
were Henry Shaubut and 0. 0. Pitcher; others, 
like Father Sommereizen never joined. The good 
priest remained during the whole seige minis- 
tering the consolations of religion to the sick, 
the wounded, the dying, and the bereaved. 

Another company \\as formed at South Bend, 
which on this same Wednesday (Aug. 20) fol- 
lowed the Mankato company to New Ulm. The 
roster of this company has been lost and we 
can only give a partial list of its members, from 
the memory of two or three survivors. 

John Zimmerman, captain. 
D. C. Evans, first lieutenant. 
Jehile Cheney, second lieutenant. 

Some other members : 

Daniel Buck. 
John R. Roberts. 
Wm. J. Thomas. 
Ehen P. Davis. 
Wm. Jones. 
Hugh H. Edwards. 
Paul Eckstrom. 
Wm. J. :\IcCauley. 
jMiner Porter. 
David P. Davis. 
Edwin Parnell. 
John S. Davis. 
George Gilley. 
Joshua Wigley. 
Herman Hegle. 
John C. Jones. 
David T. Davis. 
John S. Jones. 
Hugh Edwards. 
J. W. Trask. 
•T. Fessemeyer. 
Morris Lewis. 
Lewis D. Lewis. 
Lars Lee. 
Owen Edwards. 

Wm. D. Jones. 
David S. Davis. 
Samuel Foster. 
Rben P. Davis. 
Jonas Mohr. 
Chas. Tidland. 
Richard Wigley. 
Wm. R. Lewis. 
Wm. E. Davis. 
James Morgan. 
J. W. Trask. 
Alfred S. Van Patten. 
David Thomas. 
Edward Dackins. 
Benton T. Foster. 
David P. Davis, Jr. 
Wm. J. Jones. 
William Edwards. 
Richard Thomas. 
Peter Bandy. 
Wm. P. Jones. 
David J. Davies, Jr. 
Rev. Jenkin Jenkins. 
James Edwards. 

Seventy-three men in all. Many of above 
wore not residents of South Bend but joined 
the company in Cambria and at New Ulm, hav- 
ing gone there independently. 

The arrival of these two companies with two 
other large companies, one from St. Peter and 



the other from Le Sueur, besides a large number 
of others, who came singly and in small groups 
from Blue Earth, Brown and Nicollet Counties 
gave New Ulm an army of three hundred and 
fifty to four hundred armed men, who under 
the generalship of Judge Plandrau, were sys- 
tematically disposed so as to make an efEective 
defense of the town. 

A few Indians had attacked the town Tues- 
day afternoon, but luckily Sheriff Boardman of 
Nicollet County with sixteen well armed follow- 
ers arrived just in time to help the New Ulm 
people repulse this first attack. The main at- 
tack was now expected every liour, but did not 
come, and the delay puzzled the whites. The 
South Bend company became uneasy for fear 
that the Indians had passed by New Ulm and, 
having formed a junction with the Winnebagoes, 
were now perhaps butchering their women and 
children, whom they had left at home almost 
defenseless. They accordingly on .Thursday 
afternoon returned home. The Mankato, St. 
Peter and Le Sueur companies remained and 
at last on Saturday (Aug. 23rd) the critical 
point in the Sioux war was reached. Heretofore 
most of Little Crow's army had been scattered 
over the country, killing and plundering the 
settlers. But at last all west of New Ulm had 
been completely devastated and Little Crow was 
able to concentrate his warriors into an army 
four or five hundred strong, and march them 
against the fii-st important village of the pale 
face. Could he take it, was the crucial question 
of that day, upon the answer to which depended 
^he fate of most of the valley below. The battle 
began soon after 9 o'clock in the forenoon and 
raged all day until nightfall. The whites had 
concentrated their entire force within the four 
center blocks of town, building barricades ac- 
cross the streets and alleys with lumber, wood 
and boxes, while all the buildings outside ihis 
fortification, 192 in all, had been burned by 
the Indians or the whites. From first to last 
the Mankato company rendered efficient service. 
Time and again they repulsed the charges 
inade by the savage foe. In one of these onsets 
Newell Houghton of Winnebago Agency was kill- 
ed. Wm. Nickolson of Cambria was, also, killed 
and Benton T. Foster of Judson was mortally 

woujided, and died two days later. Among the 
iyounded were: Geo. Andrews, F. M. Andrews, 
Patrick Burns, Adam Freundle, Theodore Fit- 
tt-rer, and John Fassatt. 

Discouraged by their many repulses and find- 
ing the whites better fortified than ever, and 
fearning from their scouts that there was a 
great army under General Sibley coming against 
them, the Indians raised the seige Sunday mom- 
ing and retreated up the valley. The whites at 
first were puzzled by this move on the part of 
the savages and thought it might be a merf 
ruse to draw them away from their fortifica- 

Let us now return to Blue Earth county. On 
Tuesday and Wednesday (Aug. 19th and 20th) 
the farmers all over the county abandoned 
their partly harvested fields, their stock and 
their homes and fled with their families to 
South Bend, Mankato, Garden City, Vernon 
or Shelbyville, "Puring the week a few of the 
armed men with guns, would steal back home to 
look after the stock or to get some food or cloth- 
ing for the family. Otherwise the whole country 
was deserted and the villages were crowded with 
refugees. In some cases a neighborhood of a 
dozen families would crowd themselves into one 
little log cabin. At South Bend rude barricades 
v/ere constructed about the center of town and 
the stone grist mill, the hotel, and every 
other building packed with the families of the 
fleeing settlers. The men were all pressed into 
service as guards and armed with such weapons 
as could be found. Those without guns 
were provided with axes or s.cythes. At Garden 
City, Vernon and Shelbyville companies of home 
guards were formed and means taken for de- 
fense. At Garden City a meeting was called the 
Tuesday morning after the outbreak and it was 
determined to send a squad of ten mounted vol- 
unteers to New Ulm to ascertain the truth about 
the matter. The party consisted of Bd. Potter, 
who was made captain, L. S. Terry, Sherman 
Finch, C. C. Wasburn, Bliphalet Smith, and five 
others. They reached New Ulm late that aft- 
ernoon just after the first attack on the town. 
The sight of the many mutilated dead, seven- 
teen in one room, brought in from the country, 
convinced them of the seriousness of the situ- 



ation. The village was in the wildest ■ excite- 
ment all night. In the morning the guards 
would not permit our party to leave town. After 
consulting with those in authority two of their 
number were finally permitted to carry back 
the report to Garden City, but they were not 
oven permitted an escort across the Big Cotton- 
wood. Messrs. Terry and Smith were the two 
chosen for the dangerous mission. They reached 
Garden City by noon and the report they 
brought of what they had seen and heard in- 
duced many of the people of Garden City, 
Vernon and Shelby ville to leave the country. 

On Saturday, Aug. 23rd, the smoke of the 
burning buildings at Xew Ulm could be plain- 
ly seen miles away, and everybody thought the 
town had been taken and was being burned by 
the Indians. This created a panic at Garden 
City, and elsewhere and the main retreat be- 
gan. The place of rendezvous was on the site 
of Old Mapleton where a great camp was 
formed of all the people in the south half of the 
county. They did not all get to the rendezvous 
at once, but the people of one neighborhood 
would first flee in the morning to that next to 
them on the east or south, while those to the 
west and north would occupy their deserted 
homes by night. 

On Tuesday, Aug. 19th, a company had been 
recruited from Garden City, Vernon, Shelby- 
ville and Winnebago City, of which H. W. Holly 
of the latter place was made Captain and Dr. 
Welcome of Garden City Ist Lieutenant. M. B. 
Eaynes and Noble G. Boot of Vernon were mem- 
bers, but we have not been able to learn the names 
of the others. Each provided himself with a gun 
of some sort and a horse and all met on Wed- 
nesday at Winnebago City. Thence they started 
early the next morning upon a scouting expedi- 
tion to the west camping the first night in the 
vicinity of the present village of Sherburne, 
turning thence nortlicast they reached Madelia 
Friday night, where the people had built a good 
stockade. Next day they saw the smoke of the 
burning of New Ulm. By the time they 
reached Garden City they found it entirely de- 

Passing on to Vernon they found its inhabi- 
tants gone but the rearmost portion of the 

Garden City refugees had taken their place and 
were occupying their homes. Many of the peo- 
ple did not stop at the big gathering place at 
Old Mapleton but passed on, some to Albert Lea, 
some to Owatonna, and others to Iowa and Wis- 
consin. The great bulk of the inhabitants how- 
ever, did not go further than this rendezvous. 
A stirring and picturesque scene was this great 
camp, especially towards evening. The wagons 
had been arranged in a great circle and inside 
big camp fires were built for cooking and 
warmth around Avhich were congregated the men, 
women and children. The great herds of cattle 
belonging to many households, agitated by the 
strange surroundings, kept up a constant bellow- 
ing. The news of the evacuation of New Ulm 
came nearly creating a panic among our refu-. 
gees. A meeting of the men was held at which 
the question of fieeing the country was warmly 
discussed. Finally MaJ. E. P. Evans volunteered 
to drive to Mankato, learn the exact situaition 
and bring back report at once. This was done, 
and the ^Major's report was so favorable, (the 
Indians had retreated from New Ulm ; Sibley 
with a big army was at St. Peter starting 
west against the foe; Dane's company was 
stationed at Lake Crystal;) that most of the 
settlers returned to their homes. 

At Mankato every man was mustered into 
service and pickets kept stationed around the 
town in every direction. The three story stone' 
liuildings of Leech and White and' Marks were 
well fortified by nailing four inch oak planks 
over the windows and cutting loop holes for 
shooting, barricades were built across the streets 
and along the levee with cordwood, salt barrels, 
dvygoods boxes, logs and planks. On Friday 
afternoon (Aug. 23) company E of the 9th 
Minnesota, 108 men, who had left Mankato 
just one week before to enlist at Ft. Snelling, 
returned. They had sealed order, which when 
opened directed them to seize at once all the 
horses they needed from the people. This they 
did and there was a lively time between them 
and all owners of horseflesh that afternoon. 

Hon. T. M. Pugh nf South Bend was driving 
down Front street in a buggy behind a fine 
horse and his best girl was sitting beside him. 
Jim Hoosier and two or three other soldier boys 



he knew stepped out into the street to greet 
him, and before Mr. Pugh realized what was 
up, the horse was slipped out of its harness and 
gone before his astonished gaze, while he still sat 
in the buggy holding the lines. Some managed 
to hide their horses in the woods and brush, 
but the soldiers soon found enough to supply 
their need. Their -orders, also, directed them 
to take all the food, feed, and other things 
necessary and give the owners receipts therefore. 
This was a military necessity as the company 
had been rushed back without any supplies. 

As it was rumored that the Indians were burn- 
ing houses west of Lake Crystal, Lieut. Eoberts 
and forty-eight mounted men were dispatched 
thither that afternoon. They camped in a va- 
• cant house on the south shore of the lake for 
three or four days. 

On this same Saturday occurred as we have 
seen the battle of Kew Ulm. In the afternoon 
the smoke of the burning town could be seen 
from the northwest portion of the County, and 
by night the glare of the fire against the sky 
was plainly visible from South Bend, Mankato 
and even St. Clair and Mapleton. It created 
consternation everywhere for it was supposed 
that the Indians had captured the town and 
were burning it. It was a night that our old 
settlers will never forget. The excitement, the 
terror and the grief beggars description, for al- 
most every family had some relative or friend 
among the defenders of iSTew Ulm, and every- 
body expected the savage horde would attack 
them before morning. 

At the Winnebago Agency the excitement 
among the Indians and the whites had been 
intense since the outbreak occurred. A number 
of the Winnebagoes with Little Priest, one of 
their chiefs, were visiting the Sioux, when the 
massacre started, and there was strong suspicion 
that they took some hand in it. They returned 
Wednesday morning and were chased through 
Cambria and Butternut Valley by Wm. E. Lew- 
is, Lewis D. Lewis, James Morgan and one or two 
others, but finally reached the Agency that day, 
and greatly added to the agitation by their re- 
ports. Secret councils were held almost con- 
tinually to which no white men were admitted. 
Some of the older chiefs, who had friends among 

the whites, advised them to send their families 
away, as the young men were strongly inclined 
TO Join the Sioux. Everything boded mischief. 
They had organized a Soldier Lodge, which met 
in a large wigwam ma4e of mats weaved from 
rushes. Meetings were held here almost con- 
stantly, and none of the whites or half breeds 
were permitted to enter. The traders, Messrs. 
Hubbell and Hawley, on Thursday moming, 
upon the advise, of chief Baptiste, sent their 
families to Owatonna. On Friday, Aug. 32nd, 
Mr. Hubbell was dispatched by Mr. Balcombe, 
llie agent, to Wilton to get a company of citi- 
zens to come to the agency to help keep the 
peace. Col. Ide and a few others drove back at 
once with Mr. Hubbell. Others followed next 
morning until a company of forty or fifty 
were gathered there which had some quieting ef- 
fect on the Indians. Soon after the evacuation of 
New Ulm Capt. Edgerton arrived at the Agency 
with a large company of volunteers and the 
Wilton men returned home. Most of the Winne- 
bago chiefs and headmen, such as Baptiste, Big 
Bear, Co-No-Hutta-Kaw, Little Decoria, Tall 
Decoria, Young Frenchman and others remained 
faithful to the whites, but some of the chiefs, 
like Little Priest, Winneshiek, and Short Wing 
and a large number of young bucks were strong- 
ly inclined to join the Sioux, and undoubtedly 
would have done so, had the latter been success- 
ful at Few Ulm. 

On Sunday, Aug. 24th, Mankato and South 
Bend were put under marshall law, with Depu- 
ty U. S. Marshall G. K. Cleveland in command, 
assisted by A. N. Dukes and J. J. Porter as 
deputies. To stop the men from running away 
and leaving the country defenseless, no one was 
permitted to pass the guard line without a pass. 
F^our, meat, cattle, potatoes and all food com- 
modities were seized where ever found without 
pay to feed the people. The right of private 
property had to give way before the right of 
public necessity. 

The same Sunday morning (Aug. 24) Lieut. 
Eoberts dispatched James Hoosier, at his own 
request, to learn the condition of things at New 
Ulm. He arrived there safely just after the 
departure of the Indians. A company of seven- 
ty-four men from St. Peter, under Capt. E. St. 



Julian Cox, and another company of forty-eight 
men from Henderson, under Lieut. Adam Buck 
arrived there, also, about noon. As there were 
only four blocks of the town left in which to 
shelter about 2,000 people, and the food supply 
was almost exhausted, it was determined to evac- 
uate the place next morning and take the peo- 
ple to South Bend and Mankato, where they 
could be fed and have more room. Hon. H. A. 
Swift and Mr. Ackerman of St. Peter arrived 
at Mankato at noon with the first message of 
the evacuation. They were soon followed by 
l)r. McMahan, who had been dispatched ahead 
to prepare a place for the fifty-two wounded 
persons from New Ulm. With the aid of A. N. 
Dukes and C. K. Cleveland the American 
House was secured for a hospital and hastily put 
in order for the purpose. All the people at New 
Ulm were notified Sunday afternoon to be 
ready by next morning to start for Mankato. 
Every team in town was put in requisition. 
Contrary to instructions the people piled all 
manner of household goods into the wagons, 
until there was no room for half the women and 
children, consequently the officers in charge 
were obliged next morning to dump from the wag- 
ons trunks, feather beds, furniture and all manner 
of goods into the street to make room for the 
sick, the wounded and those who could not 
walk. The road for two or three miles out 
of town was strewn with household effects 
thrown from the overloaded wagons. Before 
the expedition started all the stores were 
thrown open and everybody invited to take what- 
ever they wished, as it was supposed the Indians 
would return and plunder all as soon as the 
whites were gone. A number of the volunteers 
loaded themselves with these goods and after- 
wards becoming tired had to throw them away 
on the march. There were 153 wagons and 
about 2,000 people in line. All the able- 
bodied men marched under arms in their re- 
spective companies, some in front, some along 
the sides and some in the rear to guard 
the long train of non-combatants. Since both 
South Bend and Mankato were already crowded 
With refugees from the surrounding country, it 
was no small matter to find food and shelter for 
2,000 more. Cattle were killed at South Bend 

and ilankato and the meat cooked in large 
kettles over camp fires. Barrels of flour were 
converted into bread by the women. It was late 
in the afternoon before the tired, hungry mul- 
titude arrived. 

The rear Guard, consisting of the companies 
of Lieutenants Cox and Buck and acting Lieu- 
tenant J. B. Swan, halted for the night at 
C'risp's store (where now stands the residence 
of Joseph Roberts) in Judson to guard the rear 
in case the Indians should follow the retreat. It 
was a very dark, rainy, cold night. About two 
o'clock in the morning one of the sentries no- 
ticed some object move in front of him in the 
tall grass. He challenged it, but instead of an- 
swering, it came straight toward him. He raised 
his gun and pulled the trigger but the rain had 
dampened the cap so it did not fire. A weak, 
trembling feminine voice fell on his ear beg- 
ging him not to shoot. It proved to be a poor 
\\oman, Mrs. Harrington by name, who eight 
days before had fled from her home on the 
Big Cottonwood, west of N^ew Ulm, with a num- 
ber of neighbors. The little company had been 
overtaken in the road by a band of Indians and 
nearly all murdered. Mrs. Harrington had 
jumped from the wagon, with her little babe, a 
year old boy, in her arms. An Indian bullet 
passed through her little child's hand, which 
v/as resting on her shoulder, and lodged in her 
own body. She ran into the brush and hid. 
Even the little babe was conscious of danger and 
kept as still as a mouse, though its little hand 
had been terribly lacerated by the cruel bullet. 
The Indians failed to find her. Since then she 
had spent the days hiding in bushes and swamps 
and the nights in wandering over the prairies 
trying to find some white settlement. She had 
subsisted on roots, berries and raw vegetables. 
Tliis Monday night weak from hunger, loss 
oi blood and pain, wet and shivering with the 
rain and the cold, and her clothes almost in 
shreds, her feet cut by the grass, and her baby 
sick and nearly dead from hunger and exposure, 
she had seen the camp fires and determined to 
approach them rather than perish in the slough, 
though she imagined they belonged to the In- 
dians. Her joy, when she discovered they were 
white men was most touching. The men kindly 



cared for her and her babe, and next morning 
took them to the hospital at Mankato, and there 
the glad husband who happened to have been 
east when the massacre occurred, found them. 

The governor now commissioned Judge Plan- 
drau to the command of all the militia organiza- 
tions in Blue Earth County and points south 
and west with headquarters at South Bend. His 
principal office was in the hotel there. Commis- 
saries were maintained at South Bend, Mankato 
and St. Peter to feed the hundreds of fugitives 
there gathered. A. N. Dukes was quarter mas- 
ter for the first two or three weeks and after 
])is promotion to the rank of Captain, D. H. 
Tyner was appointed with B. D. Pay as assistant 
in Mankato, and Geo. Owens in South Bend. 
Threshing crews were formed, who went out and 
threshed the stacks of grain, without asking the 
farmers leave, for all was under martial law. The 
grain thus secured was ground into flour to feed 
the people. There were some, even in such try- 
ing circumstances, who took advantage of the 
indulgence and generosity of the people as an 
occasion to gratify their thieving propensities. 
Silverware and other articles were stolen from 
hotels, and private homes by some dishonest 
miscreants, while others ventured back to jSTew 
Ulm at the peril of their lives and carried away 
wagon loads of the goods scattered by the road- 
side, but which did not belong to them. These 
instances of looting of property, however, were 
rare, though the confusion which then pre- 
vailed afforded everj' opportunity. 

On Tuesday (Aug. 36th) while Capt. Dane's 
company were still encamped at the Eobinson 
house near the outlet of Lake Crystal they dis- 
covered a wagon drawn by oxen coming from the 
west near Buffalo Grove. A detachment of 
soldiers mounted their horses and went out to 
meet it. The occupants proved to be refugees 
from Lake Shetec, Messrs. Everett, Hatch and 
Bently and a Mrs. Meyer and her four children. 
Mrs. Meyer had been carried from her home, 
on ■ her sick bed, and when opposite Few Ulm 
the previous Saturday her husband ventured 
into town to procure help, and, being hemmed 
in by the Indians, had failed to get out. After 
waiting a whole day for him the party concluded 
he must have been ' killed, and proceeded on 

their journey towards South Bend. They had 
reached Buffalo Grove, when they saw the sol- 
diers coming toward them on horseback, and 
took them at once to be Indians. Hatch and 
Bentley left the wagon and ran to the lake, 
where they hid in the grass. Mr. Everett had 
been severely wounded by the Indians and could 
not walk and Mrs. Meyers was too sick to rise 
from her bed, so the two with the children were 
left in the wagon. The fright threw the womaa 
into convulsions and it was some time before 
she and the two men in the slough could be 
made to realize that the soldiers were not In- 
dians, but white men. Mr. Hatch was also bad- 
ly wounded, though he was able to walk. AU 
were taken at once to the hospital at Man- 
kato, where Mrs. Meyers died the next day. The 
terrible hardships she had undergone proved 
too much for her enfeebled health. 

On Friday, Aug. 29th, Dane's company was 
ordered from Lake Crystal to New Uhn, which 
had been deserted since Monday. The town 
presented a most dreary and desolate appear- 
ance. The houses were all burnt, except a few 
in the center. The streets were littered from 
end to end with household goods and furni- 
ture, and here and there were the bloated car- 
casses of some fifty or sixty "horses and cattle, 
which had been killed in the fight, emiting a 
horrible stench. The barricades were, still 
standing across the streets, except at one place, 
where they had been thrown down to permit 
the besieged people to escape. Within these for- 
tifications little mounds of earth dotted the streets 
thick, under which in shallow graves lay the 
dead. The few buildings left had been all loop- 
holed for musketrj', and both barricades and 
buildings 'were splintered and riddled with bul- 
lets. Everywhere were evidences of the desper- 
ate conflict of Saturday and it was several days 
before the soldiers could restore the town to 

In the mean time Gen. Sibley had occupied 
Ft. Eidgley with an army of 1500 to 1600 
men. But they were all raw recruits, who had 
received no military training, and armed for 
the most part with rejected muskets, which 
the government had sent north to be used in 
drilling new volunteers. On September 2nd, 



1862j occurred the battle of Birch Cooley, when 
a burial detachment, which Gen. Sibley had 
sent out, was attacked by an overwhelming 
force of Indians about twelve miles west of 
Ft. Eidgely, but managed to hold their own in 
a terrible struggle, until relieved by re-enforce- 
ments from the fort. On the very day of 
this battle a skulking band of eight Indians 
killed some settlers near the present village of 
Courtland in Nicollet county and crossing the 
Minnesota passed stealthily through the north- 
western corner of Cambria township. Eben P. 
Davies, the son of David P. Davis, then residing 
on the Little Cottonwood in section nineteen 
of Cambria, had just put a span of colts into 
a pasture and was returning along the side of 
the fence, when he came upon an Indian lying 
in the grass. The Indian jumped up and made 
a grab for Eben's shoulder, but the latter dodged 
and ran for home. The Indian followed him 
a short distance, and then fired, the ball pass- 
ing through Eben's left arm between the wrist 
and the elbow. A stampede of the settlers, 
who had just returned to their homes a few 
days before, was prevented by the timely arrival in 
the neighborhood of a company of the twenty- 
fifth Wisconsin, which was on its way to New 
Ulm. It tarried over night in Cambria to pro- 
tect the settlers and aid them in searching for 
the Indians. No trace of the latter could be 
discovered, nor of Mr. Davis' two colts, which 
Eben had put into the pasture. The next day 
Col. Flandrau sent Capt. Rogers' company to 
New Ulm to relieve Capt. Dane's company, and 
the latter was stationed at Crisp's store in 
Judson. Why they were not stationed in the 
^ore westerly settlement of Cambria, or But- 
ternut Valley as it was then called, is not 

The people of that neighborhood were accus- 
tomed to gather for mutual protection each 
night at the home of James Morgan, which 
stood across the highway from the school house 
of District No. eleven. Tuesday night, Sep- 
tember 9th, just one week after Eben P. Davis 
was shot, most of the families concluded to 
stay at home, as the soldiers that very day had 
made a thorough search of the town and had 
found no trace of Indians. A few came 

together as usual. These were the families of 
David P. Davis, James Edwards, Lewis D. 
Lewis and Richard Morgan; twenty-two per- 
sons, between men, women and children. David 
Price and family had come with their neighbor, 
James Edwards, but at the invitation of Thos. 
Y. Davis, they went to spend the night with 
him. His house (the present residence of 
Rev. Thos. E. Hughes) stood only about fifty 
rods to the north, on the other side of a little 
knoll. A number of the men gathered at 
James Morgan's house early in the " evening to 
talk over the news. Among others were John 
S. Jones, David J. Davis, and Henry 'Hughes. 
The latter spoke of an adventure he had just 
been through in looking for his cow on Cambria 
Creek near his cabin, a suspicious noise in the 
brush, as of persons moving away from him as 
he entered them in the dusk to look for the 
cow. Wm. Edwards told of seeing some men 
that afternoon down by the Minnesota, whom 
he was certain were Indians. Not much atten- 
tion was paid to these reports, as such stories 
were much in vogue in those days, for nearly 
every object a person then saw assumed the 
appearance of an Indian warrior. Except the 
twenty-two before mentioned all the rest of the 
neighbors soon dispersed to their homes. 

Next morning, September 10th, at break of 
day the people at James ^Morgans' house were 
awakened by the furious barking of dogs. Mr. 
Morgans opened the front, door and saw some 
person in the road in front of the house with 
a dog barking viciously at his heels. The 
party seemed to be dressed like a white man 
and had a straw hat on his head, but as he 
turned to look at the dog, Mr. Morgans recog- 
nized him to be an Indian, and called the atten- 
tion of Lewis D. Lewis, who had stepped to 
his side, to him. Mr. Lewis raised his right 
hand to shield his eyes as he peered in the 
direction pointed by Morgans. Suddenly a bul- 
let struck his hand, passing through its entire 
breadth a little above the knuckles and strik- 
ing against his forehead, fell to the floor. His 
hand had saved his brain. Another bullet came 
\»._izzing through a window, but though the 
room was full of people, it passed between them 
doing no harm. James Edwards had just 



risen from the floor, where he had been sleep- 
ing, to reach for his gun, when a third ball 
came through another window, hitting him in 
the neck, severing the jugular vein. Without 
a word he fell dead across his bed on the floor, 
his blood spirting over all near him. The other 
men had now secured their guns and opened 
a brisk fire on the Indians and they quickly 
retreated into a cornfield across the road. D. P, 
Davis, Jr., thinks he hit one of them as he 
leaped the fence, but no marks of blood or 
otherwise could be found. As soon as the 
Indians were driven ofE, John P. and Henry P. 
Davis started for camp Crisp, six miles away, 
lor help. Wm. Edwards and D. P. Davis, Jr. 
followed in a short time on the same errand. 
Miss Mary Morgans, taking one of her brother's 
youngest children in her arms, started, also, for 
the camp. The others stayed in the house for 
a time, and kept watch from the second story win- 
dows. David P. Davis had been stacking grain 
the day before and had left his horses in the 
pasture, three quarters of a mile west of Mor- 
gan's house, over night. Not long after the 
attack a number of Indians were observed chas- 
ing the horses. They soon corraled them in a 
corner of the field, where they had made a pen 
with the wagons used in stacking. The Indians 
now congregated on a high knoll on the Daniel 
P. Davis farm to reconnoiter. There were about 
fifteen of them. After a short consultation the 
four mounted on the horses they had just caught 
and two on foot started down the hill eastward, 
in the direction of the Morgans house. Three 
or four went south, where they stole Eev. Jen- 
kin Jenkin's horses, and the rest passed beyond 
the hill to the west. 

The occupants of the Morgans house, seeing 
a portion of the Indians coming straight toward 
them, concluded -they were bent on another 
attack, and, as there were now only three men 
left with the women and children, all fled from 
the house. D. P. Davis Sr. hid in the corn- 
field, James Morgan in some stacks of grain, 
the rest ran down a small gully towards Cam- 
bria Creek. When about twenty rods west of 
the house the two Indians on foot turned to the 
left, into Thos. Y. Davis' field; the four mount- 
ed evidently to avoid the Morgans house, turned 

to the right into Henry Hughes' field, and 
passed down a branch of the same gully just 
mentioned and barely missed the women and 
children, who had just reached a clump of 
bushes at the junction, when the Indians 
passed within a few feet of them. Lewis D. 
Lewis, being unable to staunch the fiow of 
blood from his hand, had left the house about 
fifteen minutes before to try and reach Dane's 
camp at the Crisp store to secure medical aid. 
When nearing Bennett's Creek, about a mile 
away, he saw the Indians coming after him on 
the road at full gallop. He ran and threw 
himself into a clump of bushes near by. He 
found himself lying on the ground within a 
foot or two of a monster prairie snake. Lewis 
concluded to trust the snake, however, rather 
than the Indians and so lay motionless until 
the Sioux were gone; nor did his snakeship ob- 
ject to his den being made a city of refuge. 

The two Indians, who had turned into Thos. 
Y. Davis' field, went straight for his horses, 
which had been staked out to grass by the 
house. Mr. Davis thought they were soldiers, 
as they were dressed as whitemen, and ran out 
to stop them from taking his horses, but when 
he got close to them he perceived they wepe 
Indians. They had laid down their guns to 
catch the horses and therefore could not' shoot 
him. He turned quickly and ran to James 
Morgans house for help. To his surprise the 
place seemed deserted and no one answered his 
rap. The front door was locked so he went to 
the back door. Here the steps were covered 
with blood and a glance through the half open 
door revealed the bedding on the floor in the 
wildest confusion and soaked with blood, pools 
of blood, also, on the floor, and spirts of blood 
dripping from the walls. Mr. Davis did not 
tarry long near this chamber of blood, but made 
the swiftest run he ever made before or since, 
to the log cabin of one John Shield's, three 
quarters of a mile down the road. Mr. Shields 
was sick in bed, but sickness in those days was 
no excuse, and he and his family promptly 
joined Mr. Davis in an expedition into the 
woods of Cambria Creek. Emerging from the 
brush into the Mankato road about a mile 
below, they saw not more than ten rods ahead 



of them the four Indians, mounted on the D. 
P. Davis horses. The Indians glanced bacK 
over their shoulders at them but did not stop. 
Half a mile further on \Vm. P. Jones, Hugh 
li. William, Stephen and David Walters and 
Thos. D. Lloyd were approaching the Mankato 
road from Lloyd's house, in a wagon half filled 
with household goods drawn by oxen. The 
Indians caught sight of them and charged them 
full gallop, whooping and brandishing their 
weapons. The men scattered into the adjoin- 
ing cornfield except Stephen Walters, who 
mounted on a fleet mare belonging to Hugh 
Wiinams, attempted to out run the foe, which 
he might have easily done, but the savages dis- 
conserted him by their yelling and he jumped 
from his mare and ran into the brush. The 
Indians caught the mare and substituted her 
for the poorest of the four horses they had and 
after plundering the wagon of such things as 
they wanted, they passed on down the road 
towards Mankato. 

Leaving them for the present let us return 
again to the upper end of the settlement. David 
J. Davis' log cabin then stood in section seven- 
teen of Cambria, at the foot of the steep blufi, 
which skirts the Minnesota river bottom. A 
path led up this bluff, back of the house to the 
table land above, where was a cornfield. At 
day break, this morning, Mr. Davis' eighteen 
year old son, Thomas, went up the path to see 
if there were cattle in the corn. Just at the 
top he met two Indians face to face and turned 
to flee, but they shot him in the back, through 
the heart. The father yet in bed heard the 
shot and the piercing shriek* of his son. He 
rushed to the door half clad just in time to 
see his son fall and the two Indians standing 
at the top of the bluff. Mr. Davis seized his 
ax while his oldest son, David, who was an 
excellent shot, took his trusty rifle and gather- 
ing his other eight motherless children, most 
of whom were "quite small, he fled with them 
on the bluff watching, but not daring to- follow 
from respect to David's rifle. Thus they hasten- 
ed on through the tail grass, dripping with the 
cold morning dew, thinly clad and chilled to the 
bone, a distance of six miles to Camp Crisp, 
warning all the people they met. The weather 

was now getting quite chilly night and morning, 
but none of the settlers that morning had time 
to think of wraps, but all fled just as they were, 
many only half clad. 

John P. Davis, whom we mentioned leaving 
James Morgans' house, had caught on Bermett's 
Creek on old horse belonging to Eiehard Morgans, 
and thus had been enabled to reach the soldier's 
camp ten or flfteen minutes ahead of David J. 
Davis and children, whom he had passed on the 
road. That morning Eiehard Wigley, Wm. J. 
Eoberts, and John C. Jones had left camp Crisp 
with a threshing machine. On the knoll on the 
west side of Jonas Mohr's farm, in section 
36, (now owned by Mrs. Eiehard Jones), they 
met David J. Davis and John P. Davis and 
other fugitives with news of the attack. John 
C. Jones had gone on an errand to the house 
of Morris Lewis about half a mile away from the 
road, leaving his partners, Eoberts and Wig- 
ley with the machine, waiting on the knoll for 
his return, and talking with the fugitives as 
they came. Mr. Mohr came up the road looking 
for his horses. After talking a few minutes 
about the awful happenings of the morning he 
started up the road to the west. In the slough 
west of the knoll J. W. Trask and John Page 
were making hay. Suddenly seven men on horse 
back were seen coming down the road full 
speed. As they wore straw hats and citizens 
clothes, the people were in doubt whether they 
were white fugitives or Indians. One of them 
turned aside to pursue Mr. Trask and they 
were then known to be Indians. Mr. Trask 
ran and jumped over a fence. The Indian 
fired at him hitting him in the wrist and then 
hurried back to join his companions. The other 
six Indians made straight for the machine. 
Wigley and Eoberts were unarmed and ran to 
hide in some sugar cane near by. Mohr had a 
Sharps rifle, and was a flne shot, but he ran 
back and passed the machine without firing, 
evidently trying to get home to protect his fam- 
ily. One Indian followed him past the ma- 
chine, and Slohr, seeing that he would soon over- 
take him, wheeled about to shoot, but the In- 
dian's gun went off first, the ball penetrating 
Mohr's forehead. He fell over backward and soon 
expired. In the meantime the other Indians cut 



the hajness ofE of one of Eoberts' best horses 
and took it in place of one of the poorest they 
had. Seeing a company of soldiers coming up 
the road at full speed, the Indians fled in hot 
haste for the woods near by. Four of them, in 
passing down the ravine near Morris Lewis' 
house, barely missed meeting Mr. Lewis and 
family, David A. Davis and family and David 
.J. Thomas who were coming with teams toward 
the road. The other three passed down the 
ravine by Geo. Owens' house, and Mr. Owens 
and his children scarcely had time to get out 
of their way into the brush and corn beside 
the path. 

Let us again return to the western end of the 
settlement. Early this same morning John S. 
Jones (Prairie), living on the northwest quar- 
ter of section 33 bid his wife and six children 
good-bye to go and help John Jones (Indiana) 
stack grain. In passing the westerly foot of 
tJie big knoll on the Daniel P. Davis farm, near 
Avhere the road from the south then met the 
east and west road from Horeb church, on the 
John Eees farm, he was killed and scalped. He 
was a brave and powerful man, and the grass 
around him bore evidence of a desperate strug- 
gle. His pitch fork was bent and bloody. 
Whether he slew or wounded any of his murder- 
ers will never be loiown. About an hour laterj 
as John Jones (India"'"-a) was busy stacking on 
his farm, about eight rods west of the Blue 
Earth County line, and John B. Shaw was pitch- 
ing to him from the load, a number of Indians 
came out of the brush near by, jumped over the 
fence and rushed towards the two men, firing 
their guns. Mr. Jones leaped from the butt of 
a stack, and then broke for a point of timber 
near by, the Indians chasing after him and 
shooting. This was the last seen of poor Jones 
alive. The following spring, (April 6th, 1863) 
when D. P. Davis was burning his meadow 
three-fourths of a mile west of Horeb church his 
bones were found in the edge of a slough. His 
shoe was found caught in the fence, where he 
evidently had crossed into the meadow in haste. 
Whether he was mortally wounded when run- 
ning for the brusli and had fled to this spot, 
a distance of two miles, before he fell exhausted 
ur whether he met other Indians near where he 
crossed the D. P. Davis fence, which wan with- 

in a few feet of where John S. Jones had met 
Ids death an hour or two before, will never be 
known. While the Indians were chasing Mr. 
Jones, Mr. Shaw laid down on top of the load to 
iivoid the bullets and the horses becoming scar- 
ed ran with him across a part of the field and 
until stopped by a fence in the edge of the 
timber. Mr. Shaw, seeing the coast was clear, 
slipped down from the load and getting into 
Die brush escaped. Evan Jones was out in the 
field loading when he saw the Indians after his 
father, and fleeing out upon the prairie, hid 
in the sloughs and could not be found for some 
two weeks. His relatives and neighbors search- 
ed everywhere for him, and he often saw them 
fj-om his hiding places, but always imagined 
them to be Indians. His excitable temperament 
and the hardships he endured almost unsettled 
his reason. He was finally run down by a 
volunteer company and restored to his friends. 

David Price and family went home early from 
1'hos. T. Davis' home on that eventful morn- 
ing and finding that their neighbor, James Ed- 
wards and family did not return by nine o'clock 
A. M., Mr. Price went up to Morgans' house to 
see what was the matter. To his amazement 
he found the teams and wagons about the house 
just as they had been left the night before, but 
not a person in sight, and no response to his 
knocking at the door. On looking in through a 
window he saw that the beds and floor were 
covered with blood. In a corner of the room 
a quilt seemed to have been spread over some- 
thing. Entering by the back door he lift- 
ed a corner of this quilt, when to his horror 
he discovered the body of his murdered neigh- 
bor, Edwards. Lie imagined an Indian hid in 
every corner of the room and expected every 
nioment to feel the sting of the bullets. Beating 
a hasty retreat, he started on the run for the 
residence of Thos. Y. Davis, where he pars- 
ed the night, but before he had gone more than 
a few rods he saw four men and two women 
hurrj'ing down the road on foot. They proved 
to be Eev. Jenkin Jenkins and wife, David 
Morris and wife, and Geo. and Neal Porter. He 
joined them and induced them to go with him 
to get his family. All the men had their guns. 
At Price's house the women and children were 
put into Price's wagon, which stood with the 



oxen already Mtelied to it at the door, and they 
started for Camp Crisp. They had barely gotten 
out of the portion of the valley of the Minnesota, 
known as the "Little Prairie," when the seven 
Indians, who had shot Mohr and Trask, came 
across it. On reachuig the Mankato and New 
I'lm road about a mile away on the upland, they 
met the first detachment of Dane's company. 
When they first saw them coming on the road, 
urging their horses to their utmost speed, 
they took them for Indians, and prepared to 
make as good a fight for their lives as they 
could. Their Joy when they proved to be sol- 
diers may well be imagined. 

Fifty rods southwest of the James Morgans 
house stood the log cabin of Henry Hughes. 
Mr. Hughes and his family were at home at- 
tending to their usual duties on this fateful 
10th of September, unconscious of the danger 
all about them. Prom their hiding place in the 
woods of Cambria Creek the fugitives from Mr. 
Morgans' house could see the Indians passing 
back and forth not far from the cabin. Finally 
Eichard Morgans ventured over to warn them. 
The old man was bareheaded, barefooted and 
without a coat, and a pitchfork was his only 
weapon. Soon after the Hughes family had 
been gathered into the brush of Cambria Creek, 
with the refugees from the James Morgans house, 
the first detachment of soldiers arrived. When 
the cowering fugitives heard the noise of the 
horses hoofs coming towards them over the 
prairie, shaking the ground with their furious 
speed, they thought they were Indians and 
scattered further into the timber, but the assur- 
ing calls of the soldiers, many of whom had 
relatives among the fugitives, soon brought all 
back rejoicing. Just across the creek three 
mounted Indians were discovered coming down 
the road a little over half a mile away. The 
soldiers at once gave chase firing after them, 
but the Indians made good their escape into 
the timber of the Little Cottonwood, three quar- 
ters of a mUe beyond, though one of them drop- 
ped his blanket in the haste of his flight. Three 
detachments of Dane's company were sent after 
the Indians, between twenty-five and thirty in 
number, and drove them far into the west, 
along the prairies between the Little and Big 
Cottonwood rivers. 

The casualities of the morning on the part 
of the whites were five settlers killed and two 

wounded and about 

horses stolen. The 

bodies of the murdered men except that of John 
Jones, (Indiana) which could not then be found, 
were gathered and buried in Jerusalem Ceme- 
tery that afternoon. The surviving settlers 
now deserted their homes again for many weeks, 
staying in the vicinity of Camp Crisp and 
South Bend. 

On September 20tli, 186-2 tweuty-two inhabi- 
tants of tlie town enlisted for tliirty days as a 
militia company, under the name of "Butter- 
nut Valley Guards." Their muster roll was as 
follows : 

Captain, George ^\'. Porter, 
First Lieutenant, James Morgan. 
Second Lieutenant, Wm. P. Jones. 

Privates : 

Bavis, David A. 
Davis, Tlios. Y. 
Jenkins, Eev. Jenkin. 
Jenkins, ^Ym. E. 
Lewis, Morris. 
Lloyd, Thos. B. 
Morris, David. 
Owens, George. 
Price, David. 
Shields, John. 

Shields, Wm. 
Thomas, David. 
Thomas, Kice. 
Thomas, Thos. 
^\'alters, David. 
\\ alters, Stephen. 
Williams, David J. 
\VilIiams, Wm. J. 
\Mlli;ims, Hugh E. 

The company were stationed at what was 
known in those days as the "Big Barn" on the 
farm now owned by David E. Bowen in the 
center of section twenty-eight of Cambria. Here 
they built a fort of logs and earth. The state 
furnished the company with arms, ammunition 
and rations and they rendered good service in 
protecting the frontier, caring for the stock 
and property left on the deserted farms, and 
cutting hay for winter. In spite of the hard- 
ships, perils and death about them this company 
did not lack of much enjoyment and fun. 
There were warm discussions of national and 
local questions, there were many quarrels, prac- 
tical jokes and Indian scares all mingled to- 
gether. Such is the buoyancy of human nature 
that even in the hour of calamity it will find 
crumbs of humor. So the settlers of Blue 
Earth county amid all troubles and trials of 
the Indian massacre found opportunities for 
mirth and merry making, and even to this day 
they enjoy narrating the many comical incidents 
of the good old time when they fought the In- 





August 31st, 1862, Wm. Bierbauer raised a 
militia company -which was styled "Frontier 
Eangers." They were furnished by the state with 
Springfield rifles, ammunition, blankets, shoes, 
etc., and for forty days did service at Mankato, 
South Bend, and Madelia. The roster was as 
follows : 

William Bierbauer, Captain. 

J. E. Potter, First Lieutenant. 

James Shoemaker, Second Lieutenant. 

Samuel D. Shaw, First Sergeant. 

H. S. L^'tle, Second Sergeant. 

H. C. Ives, Third Sergeant. 

Hubert Brules, First Corporal. 

H. D. Orvis, Second Corporal. 

Privates : 

Andrus, AV. P. 
Eruner, Andrew. 
Burgmeister, H. 
Britton, F. D. 
Curtis, B. I. 
Chamberlain, J. H. 
Carr, J. G. 
Douglass, Fred. 
Davies, Daniel P. 
Fowler, F. H. 
Foster, Lawrence. 
Gessel, Jacob. 
Griffin, D. S. 
Hassel, Frederick. 
Hensley, C. B. 
Haas, Joseph. 
Hudson, J. 
Keenan, Geo. M. 

Loring, John F. 
Leich, Theodore. 
Mattox, Geo. W. 
ilallov, L. W. 
Jlarston, W. S. 
Xic'holson, John. 
Oberly, Xavier. 
Porter, E. D. B. 
Pichesrowce, George. 
Pierce, Parker. 
Pierce, Geo. 
Seward, A. D. 
Sabbath, George. 
Tate, Samuel. 
Vogle, Charles. 
AAhite, S. D. 
Whiten, Luther. 
Waite, Sydney L. 

On September 14th, 1862, "The Mankato 
Home Guards" were organized with John P. 
3'Ieagher as captain. The service done by this 
company was confined to Mankato and vicinity, 
and in fun they applied to themselves the sob- 
riquet of "Bread Eaters." Its roster was as 
follows : 

John F. Meagher, Captain. 
Charles Heilborn, First Lieutenant. 
Benjamin Hotaling, Second Lieutenant. 
S.- F. Barney, Orderly Sergeant. 
Adam Jefferson, Second Sergeant. 
George Maxfield, Third Sergeant. 
Z. Paddock, Fourth Sergeant. 

il. T. C. Flower, Fifth Sergeant. 
J. F. Williams, First Corporal. 
G. S. Meacham, Second Corporal. 
Jl. Ullraan, Third Corporal. 
J. C. Haupt, Fourth Coi"poral. 
Ambrose Lorenz, Fifth Corporal. 
Leo Lamm, Sixth Corporal. 
AVilliam McGuinness, Seventh Corporal. 
John Froiset, Eighth Corporal. 


Ames, Charles. 
Androski, Rudolph. 
Ballard, Columbus. 
Branson, Lewis. 
Brown, Samuel D. 
Burrill, J. 
Brink, Samuel. 
Berghoff, Wm. 
Burrill, X. 
Britton, I. N, 
Burgess, J. L. 
Bunker, F. 
Bigler, Jacob. 
Boegen, Henry. 
Copp, Julius. 
Chapman, C. A. 
Durkee, Benjamin. 
Dunscomb, C. S. 
Draher, John. 
Draher, John, Jr. 
Fowler, Henry. 
Frenzel, Peter. 
Funek, Wm. F. 
Garlinger, J tike. 
Goodwin, John. 
Gunning, Frank M. 
Hodgson, Wm. A. 
Hoerr, Peter. 
Hoffman, George. 
Hoffel, Peter. 
Hartman, J. H. 
.Jaeobshagen, E. 
Johnson, P. K. 

Jones, John D. 
Kron. Clements. 
Kauffer, H. B. 
Kohler, B. 
Kellogg, L. T. 
Kraus, Joseph. 
Lorenz, John. 
Lamb, David. 
Lees, .John. 
Lailin, ilartin. 
Lamm, Stephen. 
Lentz, Peter. 
Lerlroch, Jacob. 
Lambrecht, August. 
Leader, Charles. 
More, J. H. 
iloher, Henrv. 
McDowall, Allen, 
iloreland, Basil. 
Moser, Frank. 
Jlargaff, August. 
Maxfield, George, .Jr. 
Mills, Minard. 
Oberly, Frank. 
Parsons. L. 
Pierce, T. T. 
Peart, Thos. 
Preal, F. 
Phillips, Antoine. 
Pease, F. L. 
Parratt, Wm. A. 
Roberts. Geo. A. 
Roos, George. 

Companies for home protection were also 
organized at Garden C'ity, Vernon, and Shelby- 
ville, but no rosters of them were kept. On 
Sept. 11, A. N. Dukes, was promoted from the 
position of quartermaster to the command of 
the post of ilankato and South Bend with the 
rank of Captain. On September 21, John Arm- 
strong, who lived just over the county line in 




Linden township, was killed by a prowling band 
of Indians while picking plums near his house. 
His murder caused another scare among the 
settlers at Madelia and vicinity and Capt. Bier- 
bauer's company was dispatched to their protec- 

On September 23, Col. Sibley with 1500 
men met Little Crow with 800 braves at Wood 
Lake, , three miles east of the ford of Yellow 
Medicine river. It was the first real test of 
strength between the white men and the red 
men and was decisive of the war. The Indians 
fled leaving thirty of their dead on the field. 
The whites lost only four killed. The victory 
broke the courage of the Indians and made 
Sibley a Brigadier General. Soon after this 
battle the christian and friendly Indians who 
had opposed the war, managed to get nearly 
all the captive women and children away from 
the hostile bands and delivered them to the 
whites at Camp Release. There were ninety- 
one whites, and nearly one hundred and fifty 
half breeds rescued at this camp. The friendly 
Indians also surrendered themselves and among 
them many, who had taken more or less part 
in the massacre. Others were captured. In 
all about two thousand Indians and half breeds 
fell into the hands of the whites. Little Crow 
and most of the hostile bands fled into Dakota 
and thence eventually into the British posses- 
sions, where they remained, and whence for a 
number of years they kept up a predatory war 
against the whites. 

Among those who had surrendered or been 
captured, four hundred and twenty-five were 
suspected of having been implicated in the mas- 
sacre. These Gen. Sibley caused to be arrested 
and put in chains and a military court was 
created to try them at once. This court was 
composed of Col. Wm. Crooks, of the Sixth 
Regiment, Col. Wm. E. Marshall of the Seventh 
Regiment, Captain Grant and Baily of the Sixth 
Regiment and Lieut. Olin of the Third Eegi- 
ment. The court began its labors at Camp 
Eelease on September 30, and after convicting 
twenty-one adjourned until October 16th to 
allow time for more Indians to be brought in. 
After disposing of one hundred and twenty 
cases, the Camp and Commission on Oct. 33rd 

moved to the Lower Agency. Of the 425 
arrested and tried, 321 were' convicted and of 
these, 303 were sentenced to be hung and the 
remaining eighteen to various terms of impris- 
onment. The horrible mutilations of the dead, 
the fiendish torture and outrages inflicted upon 
the innocent women and children and the bru- 
tal treatment of the poor captives had so exas- 
perated the whites that they thirsted for ven- 
geance. With the awful scenes they had wit- 
nessed fresh in their minds, it was impossible 
for white men then to judge an Indian impar- 
tially. The summary haste of the trials (from 
twenty to forty-two cases being disposed of 
in a day), and the fact that no Indian was 
given an opportunity to make any defense or 
even to know what he was accused of, made the 
proceedings of this tribunal much of a farce. 
Our modern courts spend twice to five times 
as long trying one murderer than that court 
spent trying 425. Many of the convictions 
were secured on the sole testimony of a colored 
man named, Godfrey, who had joined the Indi- 
ans' and married a squaw and by his own con- 
fession was one of the worst murderers . and 
villians among them all,, and whose own neck 
was to be saved in consideration of his testi- 
mony against the Indians. The otl^er convic- 
tions were obtained by some woman or child 
picking out this or that Indian and saying "he 
killed my husband," "he killed my parents." 
They doubtless thought so, but as a matter of 
fact he may have looked like him, for to a 
stranger all Indians look much alike. Doubt- 
less among the Indians convicted there were 
many who were guilty, but there is no question, 
but that there were many, also, who were inno- 
cent. Most of the guilty ones did not dare sur- 
render themselves to the whites, but fled with 
Little Crow into the far Korthwest. 

On November 7, 1862, the military Commis- 
sion having finished its duties, those acquitted, 
with the squaws and papooses, were sent to 
Ft. Snelling, where they were kept all winter, 
except forty or fifty squaws, who went with 
those adjudged guilty as cooks. The convicted 
ones were chained together and loaded into 
wagons and brought to camp Lincoln, which 
was located on the flat land in West Mankato 











»■ ■SAUeM CO(\iSRe«AT10N*L CHllRtM-CAfOBmfl 



lying between Front Street and the mound in 
Sibley Park. At New Ulm a mob rushed upon 
the Indians with clubs and stones and. in spite 
of the guards, a number of the Indians were 
injured. The German women, whose relatives 
had been murdered, were especially furious. 
Many of the settlers of Butternut Valley, Jnd- 
son. South Bend and other parts of the county 
were employed with their teams in transport- 
ing these convicts. The army and Indians 
made a train nearly two miles long. 

It was General Sibley's intention to have the 
303 sentenced to be hung executed at once, but 
the religious sentiment of the east was so shock- 
ed by the idea of hanging so many human be- 
ings at once, especially in view of the provocation 
they had for the outbreak, that President Lin- 
coln was induced to interfere and ordered that 
none be executed until he had approved their 
sentence. General John Pope, who had been put 
in command of the Sioux Campaign, telegraphed 
back the names of the condemned Indians, a 
message which cost the government $400.00. 
President Lincoln replied by requesting that all 
the evidence upon which the Indians had been 
condemned be forwarded to him by mail. On 
receipt of the evidence the President turned it 
over to Geo. C. Whiting and Francis H. Buggies, 
two of his clerks, with . instructions to examine 
it and select forty of the worst ones. This they 
did, and on Dec. 6th, 1862, the President pigned 
an order approving the sentence imposed on 
these forty and fixing Friday Dec. 19th, 1862, 
as the day for the execution., The list thus se- 
lected by President Lincoln and the crimes for 
which they were convicted were as follows: 

(1). 0-ta-kla (alias Godfrey), A negro en- 
gaged extensively in the massacre, but on ac- 
count of turning states' evidence his sentence is 
commuted to ten years in prison. 

(3). Te-he-hdo-ne-cha (One who Forbids 
His House) Taking wlilte woman prisoner and 
ravishing her; and being otherwise engaged in 
the massacre. 

(3.) Ta-zoo alias Plan-doo-ta (Ecd Otter) 
Jl^urder of Patwell and ravishing a "\oung girl. 

(4). Wy-a-tah-to-wah (His Peoplo) Partici- 
pated in murder of Patwell. 

(5). Hin-han-shoon-ko-yas-ma-ne (One who 

walks clothed in an Owl's tail.) Jlurder of 
Alexander Hunter and taking jMrs. Hunter pris- 

(6). Maz-za-boom-doo (Iron Blower) Mur- 
der of an old man and two children. 

(r). Wa-pa-doo-tah (Red Leaf). Shot a 
white man. (He was an old man, admitted he 
shot at the man through a window, but did not 
think he killed him. He also admitted he was 
wounded at Battle of New LHm). 

(8). Wa-he-hua (]\Ieaning of name un- 
known). Murder. (He claimed the witness lied, 
that he did not kill anybody, that if he had 
killed any white man he would have fled with 
Little Crow.) 

(9). Qua-ma-ne (Tinkling Walker), Mur- 
der of two persons. (Convicted on testimony of 
two German boys. He claimed the bo3's were 
jiiistaken as he was not at the place at all.) 

(10). Ta-tah-me-ma (Round Wind), Miwdcr 
and capture of women and children. (He was 
an old man, a brother-in-law of the well known 
Joseph Renville. He had been the public crier 
for Little Crow before and during the massacre, 
but after the battle of Wood Lake joined the In- 
dians opposed to the massacre, and was their 
public crier at Camp Release, when the cap- 
tives were delivered up. He was the only one 
of the forty, who had been at all in the habit of 
attending Protestant worship and on the Sabbath 
before he knew that he was one of those to be 
hung, he had professed repentence and faith 
in Christ and been baptized by Dr. Williamson. 
He had been convicted on the testimony of two 
Gorman boys, who said they saw him kill their 
mother. He strenuously denied the accusation. 
Dr. Williamson took up his case and on inves- 
tigation showed conclusively that the bo^'s were 
mistaken, for on the very day their mother was 
killed Round Wind was many miles away help- 
ing some whites to escape. Dr. Williamson sent 
this evidence at once to President Lincoln and 
a few hours before the execution he telegraphed 
a reprieve. The old man always attributed 
hi's rescue from the gallows as a direct interven- 
tion of Providence). 

(11). Rda-in-Yan-ka (Rattling Runner), 
Participated actively in the New Ulm battle. 
(He denied the charge but admitted he was 



opposed to the delivery of the captives to the 
friendly Indians) . 

(12). Do-wan-sa (The Singer). Murder of 
a woman in the Swan Lake neighhorhood and 
an attempt to ravish her daughter, who was 
Icilled by another Indian before he could accom- 
plish his purpose. (He admitted being present 
and that two men and two women were killed 
by his companions in his presence, but denied 
he took any part). 

(13). Ha-pan (Second Child, if a Son). 
Participated in murder of Patwell and took 
Miss Williams prisoner. (Admitted he was pres- 
ent when Patwell was killed, but claimed an- 
other Indian did the killing. Admitted he took 
Miss Williams as a prisoner.) 

(14). Shoon-ka-ska (White Dog) Leader in 
the ambush at Lower Agency ferry, when Capt. 
Marsh and half his command were murdered. 
(He claims his action on this occasion was mis- 
understood by the whites. That he was for 
peace and did not give the signal for the In- 
dians to fire on Capt. Marsh and his men.) 

(15). Toon-kan-e-chah-tay-ma-ne. (One who 
Walks by his Grandfather). Murder of a man 
in a wagon and participating otherwise in the 
massacre. (Claimed the killing in question was 
done by another Indian and that the only 
wrong he did was to take a blanket from one of 
the stores at the Lower Agency.) 

(16). E-tay-doo-tah (Bed Pace), Murder 
of Mr. Divoll and seven other white persons on 
North side of the Minnesota, and also the mur- 
der of another man and woman. (Denied the 
charge but admitted being present when murders 
were committed.) 

(17). Am-da-cha (Broken to Pieces) Tak- 
ing David Faribault prisoner and killing two 
persons at his house. (Admitted he went with 
hostile Indians and shot his gun off twice, but 
did not think he killed anyone. Took some 
goods from Forbes store.) 

(18). Hay-pe-dan (Third Child, if a Son) 
Cut Mrs. Thieler with tomahawk and engaged 
in Massacre. (Admitted being in three of the 
battles and firing his gun six times, that he 
captured a woman and two children, and that 
he stole two horses.) 

(19). Mah-pe-o-ke-ni-jin, (Who stands on the 

Cloud) Usually called "Cut Nose" from a dis- 
figurement of his nasal organ by an accident. 
Murder of Antoine Young and a white man and 
woman. He denied the charge but admitted 
to have fired his gun a few times. It was after- 
vrards proven that this old villain had killed 
nineteen women and children in a wagon by 
braining them with his tomahawk.) 

(20). Henry Milord, a half breed, partici- 
pating in the murder of a man and woman. (He 
was a bright young man, who had been brought 
up at the home of General Sibley. He claimed 
he was forced to go with the hostiles to save 
his own life. Admitted he fired his gun at a 
Avoman, but did not think he killed her.) 

(21). Chas-kay-dan (The first born, if a 
son). Shooting and cutting a woman with child. 
(Admitted being at Lower Agency when mas- 
sacre was in progress. That he went to Eed- 
Vv'ood with a friend and on the way they met 
Mr. Gleason and J\Irs. Wakefield and her child- 
ren, that his friend shot Gleason and that he 
saved Mrs. Wakefield and children.) 

(22). Baptiste Campbell, a half breed, mur- 
der of man and woman. (He was a son of 
Scott Campbell, who for many years was Sioux 
interpreter at Fort Snelling and a brother of John 
Campbell, who was later hanged at Mankato 
for the Jewett murder. He claimed to have 
been forced into the massacre by the soldier's 
lodge, but did not know that he had killed any- 
body, though he had fired hi^ gun a few times 
in two or three of the battles.) 

(23). Ta-ta-ka-gay (Windmaker) Murder of 
Amos W. Huggins. (He was only seventeen or 
eighteen years old, grandson of Sacred Walker, 
who took care of Mrs. Josephine Huggins and 
her children during their captivity. Claimed 
another Indian induced him to go with him to 
Huggins house. This other Indian shot Mr. 
Huggins and had escaped with Little Crow, but 
he admitted firing off his gun in the air. The 
probability, however, is that the other Indian 
was the most guilty, and that Windmaker died 
for his indiscretion in being in bad company.) 

(24). Hay-pink-pa (The Tip of the Horn) 
Murder of Stewart B. Garvie. (He had boasted 
before the hostile Indians in the presence of 
Godfrey that he had killed ilr. Garvie with a bow 



and arrow. He claimed he had lied about it in 
order to throw off suspicion that he was friendly 
to the whites. The fact that Garvie had not 
been shot by an arrow at all confirmed his 
statement, and he probably was innocent of the 
charge, and was hung simply because he lied. 
Having a conscience free from guilt he trusted 
the Great Spirit to save him in the other world). 

(25). Hypolite Auge, a half breed, murder 
cf white man and woman. (He claimed to 
have been a clerk in one of the stores for a year 
previous to the outbreak, that when the out- 
break occurred the full bloods were very sus- 
picious of all the half breeds, that they were 
favorable to the whites and that to save their 
own scalps they had to pretend to be hostile, 
which was doubtless true. That he had fired 
at the body of a dead man in order to tell the 
'Indians he had shot a white man.) 

(26). Na-pa-shue (One Who Does Not Flee) 
boasted he had killed nineteen persons. (Claimed 
he was forced into the war, but did not kill 

(27). "\Ya-kan-tan-ka (Great Spirit) murder 
of white man. (Claimed he was present when 
some white men were killed, but he did not kill 
any, that the witness lied about him.) 

(38). Toon-kan-ko-yag-e-na-jin (One who 
Stands Clothed with his Grandfather.) Mur- 
der of white man at Big Woods. (Admitted 
being in battle of Birch Cooley and battle of 
Hutchinson, but did not know that he killed 

(29). Ma-ka-te-na-jin (One who stands on 
the Earth) Jlurder near Xew Ulm. (Was an old 
man. Admitted he was at Battle of Xew Ulm, 
but claimed he had not used a gun for years, and 
had not killed anyone. His two sons had been 
killed in the war.) 

(30). Pa-za-koo-tay-ma-ne (One who walks 
prepared to Shoot) Participated in the murder of 
eight white men. (Said he was out with a war 
party against the Chippeway when outbreak oc- 
curred, and that it was over when he got back. 
That the commiss'oners misunderstood him; he 
Ciifl not kill any white man. When commissioners 
asked him if he was in a war party and had 
fired a gun and he answered "Yes" he meant 
against the Chippeway and not the whites.) 

(31). Ta-ta-hde-dan (Wind Comes Home) 
;\lurder at Beaver Creek and capturing white 
woman. (Said the men of Eice Creek were au- 
thors of the outbreak and he opposed it; denied 
the charge against him.) 

(32). Wa-she-choon (Frenchman or White 
roan) ilurder of LeButt's son. (He was a full 
blooded white boy only sixteen years old, but 
his white origin was not known at the time of 
the hanging. He had been bom at a lumber 
camp upon the llississippi, and his parents had 
both died soon thereafter. Left thus an orphan 
l)abe in a lumber camp he was given to a squaw, 
who had brought him up as her own boy, among 
the Indians. He said he had nothing to do with 
the killing of white people, that he was to die 
for no crime, and was very much affected. The 
Indians afterwards admitted that he was inno- 
cent and his case was a sad one.) 

(33). A-e-cha-ga (To grow Upon) Murder 
of an old man and two girls. (Made no confession 
or denial.) 

(34.) Ha-ta-pin-koo (Voice that Appears 
Coming) Murder of man at Green Lake. (Said 
he had no gun, but that he had hit a man with a 
hatchet after another Indian had shot him.) 

(35). Chay-tan-hoon-ka. (The Parent Hawk) 
Murder at Beaver Creek (Said he was down at 
Ft. Eidgely and at Beaver Creek and took some 
horses, but did not kill anybody.) 

(36).- Chan-ka-hda (Near the Woods) Pres- 
ent when Patwell was killed, and saved Mary 
Anderson from death, after she had been woun- 
ded, and took her prisoner. (Admitted he took 
Mary Anderson, but it was to save her from be- 
ing killed by another Indian, who had shot her; 
thought it hard that he should be hanged for 
a good deed.) 

(37). Hda-hin-day (To Make a Eattling 
Noise Suddenly) Murder of two children. 
(Claimed he was north at time of outbreak, 
and did not return until it was over. Ad- 
mitted he was at battle 'of Wood Lake, but said 
tlie charge against him was entirely false.) 

(38). 0-ya-tay-a-koo (The coming People) 
Murder of Patwell. Admitted he was with the 
parties who killed Patwell, but denied the charge 
of striking him with his hatchet.) 

(39). Ma-hoo-way-ma (He comes for Me) 



Murder at Travelers Home. (Admitted being out 
in one of the raids towards the Big Woods, and 
that he struck a woman with his tomahawk, 
who had been killed by another Indian, but 
declared he had killed none; was himself 

(40). Wa-kin-yan-wa (Little Thunder) Par- 
ticipating in murder near Travelers Home of old 
man, two girls and two boys. (Denied the charge, 
said he was accused of killing Coursall's child, 
but the child was now living, he had done noth- 
ing worthy of death.) 

On receipt of the order for execution prepa- 
rations were made at once to carry it into effect. 
It was discovered soon that there was not 
enough rope in Mankato of suitable size and qual- 
ity and that it could not be gotten by the 19th, 
so a request -fras telegraphed to the President 
for a postponement of the execution for one 
week, which was granted. 

Let us now return in our history three or 
four weeks. About Oct. 10th, 1863, the 35th 
Wis., was sent to Mankato and its colonel, M. 
Montgomery, succeeded Judge Plandrau in com- 
mand of the military district of Southern Min- 
nesota, with headquarters at Mankato. In about 
three weeks he and his regiment were ordered 
South, and Col. Stephen Miller, of the 7th 
Minn., was appointed in his place. 

The people of Blue Earth and adjoining coun- 
ties expected that Gen. Sibley would hang the 
303 sentenced to death immediately and the 
delay made them very impatient. About the , 
last of November, while the Indians were still 
confined at Camp Lincoln a number of Mankato 
citizens with a few from New Ulm and other 
adjoining towns formed themselves into a vigi- 
lance committee, and one night started out with 
intent to have the vengeance of the law inflicted-, 
forthwith. The authorities had discovered their 
design and when they reached the west side of 
the Van Brunt slough, they suddenly found 
themselves surrounded by a cordon of bayonets. 
Their ardor for hanging Indians took a very 
great and sudden chill and as soon as the oppor- 
tunity offered all made haste to reach their 
respective homes. On Dec. 3rd, a public meeting 
convened to urge thfe speedy execution of the 
Indians and resolutions were adopted to that ef- 

Early in December the Indians were removed 
from Camp Lincoln to log buildings that had 
been constructed for them, between the Leech 
stone building and the frame building, which 
then occupied the location of Fred Kron's pres- 
ent store. 

The original ordei" for the execution was 
signed by Col. Miller at St. Paul on Dee. 17th 
and brought to Mankato by a special courier, . 
who arrived about midnight. Copies were im- 
mediately printed at the Record Office by Mr. 
J. C. Wise, which were distributed the next 
morning to the various military posts in south- 
western Minnesota. It read as follows: 



17th, 1862. 

The President of the United States, having directed 
the execution of thirty-nine of the Sioux Indians and 
halfbreed prisoners in my charge, on Friday, the 
26th instant, he having postponed the time from the 
igth instant, said execution will be carried into ef- 
fect in front of the Indian prison at this place on 
that day at 10 o'clock A. M. The executive also 
enjoins that no others of the prisoners he allowed 
to escape, and that they be protected for the future 
disposition of the Government; and these orders will 
be executed by the military force at my disposal with 
utmost fidelity. 

The aid of all good citizens is invoked to maintain 
the Jaw and constitutional authority of the land on 
that occasion. The State of Minnesota must not, in 
addition to the terrible wrongs and outrages inflicted 
upon her by the murderous savages, suffer, if pos- 
sible, still more fatally, in her prosperity and reputa- 
tion, at the hands of a few of our misguided, though 
deeply Injured fellow citizens. 

Col. 7th Minn. Regt. Vol. 
Commanding Post. 

On December 33nd, the Post Adjutant, J. K. 
Arnold issued an order forbidding the sale or 
giving away of any intoxicating liquors to any 
soldier within a radius of ten miles of Mankato, 
and another order of the same date requesting 
Col. B. P. Smith of Mankato, Major W. H. 
Dike of Faribault, Hon. Henry A. Swift and 
H. W. Lamberton of St. Peter, Edwin Bradley 
and E. H. Dike of Mankato and Reuben Butters 
of Kasota, with such other good citizens as they 
might select, to act as mounted citizen marshalls . 
on Friday the 36th inst.. Col. B. F. Smith as - 
chief and the others as assistants. 

On this same date, Monday, Dec. 33nd, with 
the aid of Rev. S. R. Riggs, Maj. Joseph E. 
Brown and others, the 39 condemned men in- 



from the other Indians, and removed to the 
rear room of the lower floor of the Leech huild- 
ing, where thereafter they were kept apart from 
the other Indians under special guard. Here at 
2 :30 P. M. of this same Monday they were visi- 
ted by Col. Miller and his stafE, and their sen- 
tence and order for execution read to them, Eev. 
Eiggs, acting as interpreter. Col. Miller then 
spoke to them in substance as follows : 

"The commanding officer at this place has 
called to speak to you upon a very serious sub- 
ject this afternoon. Your Great Father at 
"Washington, after carefully reading what the 
witnesses have testified in you.r several trials, has 
come to the conclusion, that you each have been 
guilty of wantonly and wickedly murdering his 
white children; and for this reason has direc- 
ted that you each be hanged by the neck until 
you are dead, on next Friday, and that order 
will be carried into effect on that day, at ten 
o'clock in the forenoon. Good ministers, both 
Catholic and Protestant, are here, from amongst 
whom each of you can select your spiritual ad- 
visor, who will be permitted to commune with 
you constantly during the four days that you are 
yet to live." The Colonel also instructed Eev. 
Eiggs, to tell them that they had sinned so against 
their fellowmen that there is no hope for clem- 
ency, except in the mercy of God, through the 
merits of- the Blessed Eedeemer, and that he 
earnestly exhort them to apply to that as their 
only remaining source of consolation. 

The occasion, says John C. "Wise, who was a 
personal witness and to Avhom we are indebted 
for many of the facts, was one of much solem- 
nity. With the stoicism characteristic of their 
race, the Indians betrayed not the least emotion, 
but sat composedly, half of them smoking their 
pipes, during the entire interview. They lis- 
tened attentively and grunted their approval at 
the end of each sentence. Some of the half 
breeds could not wholly conceal their nervousness. 
Thirty-two selected Father Eavaux as their 
spiritual advisor and eight chose Dr. "Williamson. 
Dr. Eiggs, because of his position as government 
interpreter could not be selected. Tuesday, Dec. 
23rd, they extemporized a wild song and dance, 
vrhich performance was ^ery wierd and solemn. 
'A'ednesday afternoon each was permitted to see 

two or three of his friends and relatives from 
the main prison in order to bid them a final 
adieu. The interviews are described as very 
sad and affecting. Each had messages to send to 
their absent relatives. Those who liad wives and 
children were affected to tears when sending 
messages to them. In most cases the children 
nx're counseled to become Christians and to a 
life of good feeling towards the whites. In shak- 
ing hands with Eed Iron and Akipee, Tazoo 
said : "Last summer 3'ou were both opposed to the 
massacre, you lived in constant apprehension of 
an attack from those who were determined on 
an extermination of the whites. Many taunts, 
insults and threats were heaped upon you and 
your families, but you continued firm in your 
friendship to the paleface and counseled peace. 
"We now see the wisdom of your words." Some 
were wholly overcome by their feeling at the final 
parting, while others put on an air of indif- 
ference. A great many wrote letters to their 
relatives and friends which they sent by Father 
Eavaux, Dr. Williamson or Eev. Eiggs. The 
following letter was ■\\Titten by Eev. Eiggs at the 
dictation of one of the Indians and in his exact 
words and might do credit to any white man : 

XA'abaslia, you have deceived me. You told me 
that if we followed the advice of Gen. Sibley, and 
give ourselves up to the whites, all would be well, 
no innocent man would be injured. I have not killed, 
wounded or injured a white man, or any white per- 
son. I have not participated in the plunder of their 
property; and yet today I am set apart for execution 
and must die in a few days, while men who are 
guilty remain in prison, lly wife is your daughter, 
my children are your grandchildren. I leave them all 
in your care and under your protection. Do not let 
them suffer, and when my children are grown up 
>let them know that their father died because he 
.followed the advice of his chief, and without hav- 
ing the blood of a. white man to answer for to the 
Great Spirit. 

My wife and children are dear to me. Let them 
not grieve for me. Let them remember that the 
brave should be prepared to meet death, and I will 
do so as becomes a Dakota. 

Your son-in-law, 


In response to a petition signed by many citi- 
zens requesting that all saloons he closed for 
three days, including the day of the execuBon 
the day before and the day after, Col. ]\Tiller 
on Wednesday issued an order declaring martial 
law over all the territory within a radius of 
ten miles of his headquarters, and prohibiting 



the sale, gift or use of any intoxicating liquors, 
iacluding wines, beer and malt liquors, within 
that territory between the hours of three o'clock 
A. M. of Thursday, the 25th of Dec, and, 11 
o'clock P. M., of Saturday, Dec. 27th, 1862, 
which was rigorously and effectively enforced. 

On Dec. 23rd and 21th a detachment of men 
under Col. Marshall were employed constructing 
the gallows. B. D. Pay as deputy sheriff as- 
sisted in this work. It was built on the levee 
directly across the street from the front door 
of the Leech building, about in the northeast 
corner of what is now known as Lot 18 of Wil- 
lard and Barney's Exchange, its northern side 
projecting probably a little onto the southeast 
corner of Lot 19 and its eastern side may have 
projected into the street two or three- feet. It 
was made of heavy, square, white oak timbers, 
and was twenty-four feet square. There were 
eight upright posts, each a foot square and 14 
feet high, one at each corner and one in the cen- 
ter of each side, set into sills below,- and into 
plates a foot square above. A series of ten not- 
ches were cut in the upper edges of each of the 
four plates, making notched places for forty 
ropes in all, the notches being made to avoid 
any sharp strain on the ropes. This frame work 
was strongly mortised and pinned together and 
looked like the frame of an old-fashioned barn, 
without rafters. In the center of the enclosure 
thus formed a large heavy timber was set firm- 
ly into the ground, like a post, twenty feet high, 
the upper half of which was rounded and smoothed 
and a little smaller than the lower half. A ring 
fitted loosely about this rounded portion of the 
post, which could be moved readily up and down 
it. This was first made of iron, but that not 
being strong enough, a piece of stout cable was 
substituted. A strongly framed platform in the 
shape of a side walk about three to four feet 
wide and lying half within and half without the 
upright timbers, ran around the whole struc- 
ture, a plank of the covering being left out at 
the place where each of the eight posts projected 
tlirough it. This platform was so constructed 
that it could be moved up and down on these-^ 
outside posts. To this platform eight ropes 
were fastened which centered and were attached 
at their other end to the ring about the center 

post. The whole was so adjusted that when the 
I'ing was at the top of the center post the plat- 
form was suspended about five to six feet above 
the ground. To hold the ring in place, a strong 
rope was attached to it and passed over the top 
of the center post, and then brought down and 
securely fastened at its foot. The cutting of this 
rope would loosen the ring, and the whole plat- 
form would drop of its own weight at once. 
Forty to fifty soldiers were marched a few times 
on the platform to test it. On Christmas day 
Col. Miller issued the following order as to the 
execution : 



25th, 1862. 

First: The officer of the day and officer of the 
guard will be relieved respectively by Capt. Burt and 
Lieut. Carter at 8:30 o'clock A. M. tomorrow. The 
present guard to continue on duty until relieved in 
the afternoon, Capt. Burt to direct that his detail 
be furnished with breakfast. 

Second: Capt. G. D. Redfield, provost marshal, will 
promptly exclude all persons from the room of the 
sentenced convicts at 7 o'clock, and having them un- 
manacled, with pinioned arms, and ready for execu- 
tion, will pass them through the guard room, and 
deliver them at the gallows to the officer of the day 
(Capt. Burt) for execution. He will see that the 
staples and manacles are preserved for future use. 
And that the prisoner "Godfrey" is duly returned 
to the old prison. Lieut. Carter, as officer of the 
guard, will at 9 o'clock close the door of the guard 
house, open the communicating door with the prison, 
allow no person except his guard to enter, and with 
the two reliefs, (who for the moment will stack 
their arms) will, under the direction of Capt. Red- 
field, conduct the convicts to the scaffold, between 
the two files of soldiers, which will be stationed on 
the route. 

Third: The officer of the day, Capt. Burt, will 
receive the convicts at the scaffold and supervise 
and conduct the execution. For this purpose he will 
detail eight men, one to each section of the platform, 
to act as executioners, and two men with axes to 
be ready for any emergency. When all is ready, 
he will give the order to Maj. J, R. Brown, signal 
oft'icer, who will beat three distinct taps upon the 
drum. At the third stroke, Wm. J. Duly, (mounted 
scout) will cut the rope. After the execution the 
officer of the day will, with his detail, collect all 
ropes and small fixtures of the occasion and deposit 
them carefully at these headquarters. He will of 
course, have all the ropes and necessary fixtures ad- 
justed previous to the execution. 

Fourth: Drs. Seignorette and Finch will examine 
the bodies and communicate the death of the pris- 
oners to the officer of the day. 

Fifth: Four teams containing shovels will be fur- 
nished by quartermaster Cutter, in which the bodies 
win be deposited by Capt. Burt's company (R. Minn. 
7th), previous to which they will stack arms, and 
will, without their arms, act as a burial party. 

Sixth: The wagons containing, the remains and the 
above burial party will proceed under an armed es- 
cort, which will be provided, and enter the bodies of 



the executed men. The whole to be under the com- 
mand of Lieut. Col. Marshall. By order of the 
Colonel commanding. 

Post Adjutant. 

On the afternoon of this same Christmas, the 
squaws, who were acting as cooks, were permitted 
to bid goodbye to the condemned men, among 
whom a number had relatives. Though the 
parting was sad, there was not so much demon- 
stration of grief as the day before, for an In- 
dian thinks it very unmanly to show emotion 
before a woman. Father Ravaux and Dr. Wil- 
liamson remained with the condemned men all 
this last night. Father Ravaux was assisted by 
Father Sommereisen. Thirty-three of the con- 
victs, including the three half breeds, were bap- 
tised into the Catholic faith, and three, besides 
Round Wind who was pardoned, into the Pro- 
testant faith. The other two refused baptism. 
The good priests and Dr. Willamson worked hard 
and faithfully. The three half breeds were 
under 20 years old and dressed like white 
men, the rest wore the Indian garb and were 
mostly young men, though a few were old and 
grey haired. The White boy was counted among 
the full bloods as he was a Sioux in speech, dress 
and habits, having been so brought up from 
babyhood, and though his features were Caucas- 
sian no one then suspected his real origin. 

On the morning of the 26th, they sang their 
death song in Dakota, Tazoo leading, which was 
very exciting. At 7:30 A. M., all persons were 
excluded, except those needed to prepare them 
for execution. Maj Brown and Capt. Redfield 
superintended the affair. Their irons were 
Imocked ofE and thedr arms pinioned, elbows 
behind and wrists in front about six inches apart. 
I'his took until 9 o'clock. They went around 
sliaking hands with the soldiers and bidding 
them good bye. They were then put in a row 
around the room standing and chanting in the 
mean time one of their wild, mournful melo- 
dies. They were then permitted to sit with 
their backs to the wall a few minutes while 
Father Ravaux came in and read them a prayer 
in Dakotah. He then spoke to them, Baptiste 
Campbell acting as interpreter. The earnest 
words of the priest affected them to tears. Dr. 
Williamson, also, had a short heart to heart talk 

with them. Caps made from some unbleached 
muslin, found in their possession when captured, 
were now put on their heads, but drawn down 
only to the forehead. While Father Ravaux was 
still talking to them Capt. Redfield entered the 
prison chamber and whispered to him that all 
was ready. He communicated the fact to Henry 
Millord, one of the halfbreeds, and he repeated 
it to the others. Instantly all were on their 
feet and forming in single file, they marched 
quickly through the intervening room to the 
front door, headed Isy Capt. Redfield. Thence 
they passed between two rows of soldiers directly 
across the street to the gallows, followed by the 
gTiards, who had stacked arms, and the reporters. 

As soon as they caught sight of the gallows, 
they began singing their death dirge, keeping 
step to the music. Still following the lead of 
Capt. Redfield, they ascended the steps to the 
platform of the gallows and were ranged in their 
places by eight soldiers, two for each section of 
the gallows. After adjusting the nooses and pull- 
ing down the muslin caps, or sacks, over their 
faces, the soldiers walked down from the plat- 
form. In the meantime the Indians kept up con- 
tinuously their singing and dancing and some 
managed to clasp each other's hands. Their chant 
mainly consisted of the simple repetition in Da- 
kotah of "This is me." It was a wild, gruesome, 
.impressive scene. Thirty human beings, all but 
three dressed in Indian costumes, ranged round 
the four squares of the gallows on an elevated 
platform, with ropes round their necks, dancing 
and chanting a wierd, fantastic dirge. 

At the foot of the center post stood Capt. 
Duly with a sharp ax, ready to cut the rope, 
which held the ring from which the platform 
hung. The Captain's wife and children had been 
butchered by the savages at Lake Shetec, and 
he had asked the privilege of this important duty 
on the execution program. David J. Davis of 
Cambria, whose son had been killed, offered 
Capt. Duly $5»00 if he would resign the position 
in his favor, but he refused. 

Facing the four sides of the gallows in battle 
fcrray were the military. Two companies of the 
9th Reg., 161 men, occupied the side toward the 
river, and three companies of the 6th Heg., 300 
men, the side toward Front street, both in com- 



mand of Col. Wilkin. On the North were 425 
men of the 10th Reg. tinder Col. J. H. Baker, 
while on the south side were 425 men of the 
7th Eeg. in command of Lieut. Col. Marshall. 
Back of the infantry to the north and south were 
drawn up three companies of the 1st Eeg., moun- 
ted Eangers, (273 men) in command of Maj. 
Buell, while Capt. White's mounted men (35 
in number) performed patrol duty. In all 1419 
soldiers were on the ground. For a portion of 
the time one company of the 7th and one com- 
pany of the lOth were detailed under Lieut. 
Col. Jennison to guard the prison yard. Be- 
yond the military wefs the populace, a great 
and motly throng of men, women and children, 
who had gathered into Mankato from a radius 
of fifty miles in their lumber wagons drawn by 
oxen. Many had been on the road all night. The 
weather was remarkably fine. There was scarcely 
any snow and the day was so warm that people 
went about in their shirt sleeves. In' those days 
the bed of the Minnesota river was situated 
about where the western two-thirds of the Saul- 
paugh Hotel now stands, and the scafEold stood 
so near its bank that there was hardly room 
for one line of soldiers. As the river was 
low there was a long sand bank in front of the 
levee. This was covered with spectators, and so 
was the opposite bank of the river, which then 
was no further than the east end of the present 

An artist from St. Paul attempted to make a 
photograph of the scene from an outside stairway, 
which led to the second story of John J. Shau- 
but's store, on the northwest corner of Block 
.14, but the cameras of that day were not well 
adapted for outside exposures, and the picture 
was very indistinct and blurred and none of 
them can now be found. More successful was 
the picture made by a special artist of Prank 
Leslie's magazine, prepared from pencil sketches 
drawn on the spot. As he could only draw a 
few of the main features of the "scene, and had 
to fill in all the details from imagination, the 
picture is far from being accurate as to such de- 
tails. The late John C. Wise had this picture 
lithographed in colors and it is now the only 
pictorial presentation of the event. Harper's 
weekly had a special artist on the ground, too, 

but his sketches were not as accurate as that 
of the Leslie artist. At 10 :16 A. M., everything 
being ready, Capt. Burt waved his sword as a 
signal to Maj. Brown, who gave three distinct 
taps on his drurh. At the last tap the props, 
which had been put under the platform as a pre- 
caution against accident, were knocked down and 
Captain Duly, then took his revenge. Through 
nervousness he failed on the first stroke, but 
a second blow of his ax severed the rope, and the 
platform fell with a crash. The doleful sound 
of the death dirge suddenly ceased and in its 
stead a great shout of exultation, rose from the 
spectators. This shout was started by a young 
soldier lad, whose father, mother, brothers and 
sisters had been butchered by one of these very 
Indians. Pointing his finger straight at the 
convulsing body of this Indian he gave vent to 
a shout of triumph, which was caught up by 
the crowd. Cut Nose, being a heavy person, 
.snapped his rope and fell partly down the river 
bank, but his neck was broken and he was dead 
when picked up, still the soldiers ran him up 
with a new rope. In twenty minutes the doctors 
pronounced all dead, and the four teams de- 
tailed for the purpose, drove to the scafEold, 
and the bodies were cut down and conveyed to 
their burial. A long wide trench had been dug 
in the gravel bed at the upper end of the 
levee between Front street and the river. Here 
they were interred by Capt. Burke's company, 
who acted as a burial party. The interment, 
however, proved of little value as the bodies 
were all exhumed that night and carried oil for 
dissection by various doctors of Southern Minne- 
sota. The execution passed off without the least 
disturbance. Though the feeling against the other 
condemned Indians was most intense, the vast 
throng behaved vnth perfect order and decorum. 
On December 20th, 1862, six days before the 
'.'.locution of the Indians, Chas. B. Hensley, the 
talented young editor of the "Mankato Inde- 
pendent," died. His constitution had never been 
robust. Soon after the Sioux outbreak he Join- 
ed a company of volunteers, who went with Gen- 
eral Sibley against the hostile bands. The hard- 
ships and exposures of the expedition gave him 
a hard cold, and he returned home sick, and 
quickly grew worse until the end. The winter 



of 1863-3 was open and very mild, which prov- 
ed a great boon to the settlers and their stock 
ior the Indian trouble had given very little op- 
portunity to prepare for winter. 

Among the condemned Indians were many 
who had heard the teachings of the christian re- 
ligion for some years. Two of their number were 
professed Christians and members of Dr. Wil- 
liamson's church. Their names were Robert 
Hopkins Chaskay and Peter Big Tire. Neither 
were guilty of the charge of murdering the 
whites. In fact Eobert Hopkins had been one 
of the most active wSh John Other Day in res- 
cuing Dr. Williamson and his family and the 
other white settlers at the Upper Agency. When 
it was found that he was among the 303 con- 
demned to be hanged, the whites, whom he had 
rescued at the risk of his own life, made a most 
vigorous protest, which was sent to President 
Lincoln, and Miss Sarah J. Williamson wrote the 
president a personal letter in his behalf. As a 
result he was promptly pardoned. But he and 
Peter Big Fire had started a work among theii- 
fellow prisoners, which they counted more im- 
portant than their liberty. Under their lead 
a wonderful spiritual revival was started among 
the convicts. In their defeat by the whites the 
Indians seemed to regard their Gods as also 
defeated, and all their old superstition ov^j 
thrown. Their pride was broken and their con- 
fidence in themselves gone. The white man's 
civilization appealed to them as something worth 
having. It made him so superior to the Indian in 
power and in wealth. The God who gave him 
such mysterious advantages over the red man 
must be the great God, and they would worship 
him, too, and become like' the white man. They 
became anxious to hear about the Christ religion. 
On the Sunday after the execution Eev. Riggs 
preached to the prisoners in the prison yard. 
Three hundred dusky warriors, heavily laden with 
chains, standing in that open court, in the 
freshly fallen snow, listening intently to the 
preachers' words, is a picture worthy of a 
great artist. Dr. Williamson walked from his 
home in St. Peter once or twice a week all winter 
to preach to them. The Pond brothers, Samuel 
W. and Gideon H., came up from Shakopee to 
speak to them a few times. Eev. Hicks, the Pres- 

byterian minister at Mankato, addressed them 
two or tlii-ee times. Through the work of these 
good missionaries and especially through the ef- 
foi-ts of Eobert Hopkins and Peter Big Fire, 
the revival continued to grow, until in February 
it culminated in a regular Pentecostal time, 
and Dr. Williamson, Rev. G. H. Pond and Eev. 
Hicks baptised and received into church mem- 
biTship nearly three hundred of them in one 

This Feb. 3, 1863, was a day long to be re- 
membered in the annals of the Dakotas, as the 
day when they renounced savagery and enlisted 
under the banner of the cross. A most solemn 
and impressive service it was when each dusky 
warrior arose in response to his name, and ad- 
vancing, confessed his sin, swore allegiance to 
the King of Heaven and with uplifted hand 
and bowed head received the ordinance of Bap- 
tism. As the ministering missionary was famil- 
iar with the past life of each candidate, he 
could give each a charge suited to his needs. 
Instead of idle story telling, gambling and 
heathen dances, these wild men of the plains 
spent the whole winter in listening to the word 
of God, in confessing sin, in prayer and exhor- 
tation and in singing hymns. Mankato is noted 
in Sioux history not so much as the place of 
hanging as the place of the new life, where a 
nation was born anew in a day. 

That their conversion was genuine, their after 
lives fully attest. Among them was Eev. Arte- 
iiias Ehnameni, for many years the able and de- 
voted pastor of the Santee Church. Among them 
also was the father of Dr. Charles H. Eastman, 
the noted author and preacher, who after his 
release went in quest of his son to the wilds of 
western Canada and sent him to college. The 
many Christian homes they founded, the churches 
they established and the consecrated lives they 
led all testify to the magnitude and thoroughness 
of the Spirit's work at the Mankato prison. 
Their log Jail was transformed into a school 
room, and books were in great demand. Before 
spring most of these condemned men had learned 
to read and write. The revival spread to the 
camp at Ft. Snelling and many were there 
converted. This wonderful spiritual awakening 
in the Mankato prison is unique in Indian his- 



tory. It originated largely among themselves. 
It affected nearly every one of the three hundred 
prisoners, and the sudden and marvelous trans- 
lormation it worked in the thought and lives 
of these savages v^as in their picturesque lan- 
guage "a great mystery/' indeed. 

The people generally, even at Mankato, were 
not aware of the tremendous change, which had 
taken place in the hearts of the captives, and 
so great was the prejudice against any Indian, 
that all their manifestations of conversion were 
looked upon as hypocrisy. 

To show how we of the Caucasiaii race, with 
all our boasted civilization, are not far re- 
moved from barbarism, with its thirst for blood, 
and revenge, when some great provocation comes 
to test us, one has but to notice the uncharitable 
conduct of many of our best people toward the 
Indian in those days. Too often the spirit 
of revenge drove out the spirit of Christ. The 
liouse of Eepresentatives of the State of Minne- 
sota, in January, 1863, passed, with only one dis- 
senting vote, a resolution requesting President 
Ijincoln to hang all the balance of the con- 
demned Indians at once, but the resolution hap- 
pily failed of final passage. Then so sane a man 
as Col. Pratt of St. Peter, because the good peo- 
ple of Boston and Philadelphia had dared to 
protest against the hanging of all the Indiajis, 
had a petition signed by 3,000 persons asking 
congress to locate the Sioux upon Boston Com- 
mon and the Winnebagoes in the parks of Phila- 
delphia, and sent the same to Congress. Mr. Wisa 
of the "Eecord," much to his credit, denounced 
the foolish act roundly and other editors of the 
State did the same. Men who knew the Indian 
character best, and whose Christian sympathies 
were broad, like Dr. Williamson, Eev. Eiggs, 
Father Eavaux and Bishop Whipple, were ready 
to see the good there was in the Indian and give 
him credit for it. 

The Indians were kept in chains, until their 
limbs were badly chafed. Eev. Eiggs was able to 
get the chains removed for a short time to let 
their sores heal, but such were the fears of the 
people, that the military were obliged soon to 
restore them. To men always used to the free- 
dom of the open air, the , constant close con- 
finement of so many of them in such a small 
pen began to tell on their health. During the 
last part of the winter thirteen of them died. On 
x\pril 22nd, 1863, they left Mankato on the 
steamboat Favorite and were taken to Davenport, 
Iowa. There were in the party 270 condemned 
Indians, forty-eight uneondenmed and fifteen, to 
twenty squaws. As they were passing Ft. Snel- 
ling, where their wives and children and com- 
rades were confined, they sang in their native 
tongue one of their favorite hymns to the tune of 
"Old Hundred": 

"Jehovah, have mercy upon me 
For thy own mercy sake, 
Thy loving kindness is very great 
Therefore place me in thy heart," etc. 

Their departure from Mankato was the last 
seen of the great Sioux nation in any numbers in 
Blue Earth county. A few of the hostiles made 
two or three raids thereto, but the land that 
heretofore had known them as a nation, time im- 
memorial, henceforth knew them no more, nor 
did hardly one of them see its face again for- 

At Davenport they were confined in a military 
prison until the spring of 1866, when their sen- 
tences were all revoked. But in the meantime 
about one third of them had died because of their 
confinement. The remnant were talten to the new 
Sioux Agency in a barren district of Nebraska. 
Most of them however, renounced Agency life 
and government annuities and took claims in 
South Dakota, and adopted the ways of white 
men, and there many of their descendants still 
live on farms leading worthy Christian lives. 


EVENTS OP 1863 AND 1864. 

Immediately after the great massacre the gov- of the districts held their elections, but some neg- 

crnor convened the State Legislature in extra lected so to do. 

f^ession. On September 26th, 1862, a bill was The roster of the Shelby company has been 
passed appropriating $25,000.00 for the relief preserved. The captain received his commission 
of the refugees, hundreds of whom were widows on Febr. 7th, 1863, but the company was not 
and orphans, and others, who had lost their mustered in until the forenoon of June 8th, 
all, were also, wholly destitute. On the 29th 1863, when a big dinner was served in the door 
of September 1862, a Militia Act was passed by yard of Nathaniel Stevens to all the members, 
the same Legislature, which required every able According to the roster there were seven lumber- 
bodied male between the ages of 18 years and men, one artist, one mechanic and forty-three 
45 years, with certain necessary exceptions, to farmers in the company. The muster roll with 
be listed in military companies for the defence age and rank was as follows : 
of the frontier. These lists were to be filed with ^S<^ 

., ~ , jT, -, ■, 1,1 -I , Phineas Lattin, Captain 32 

the County Auditors, and it was made the duty xilton 0. Allen, First Lieutenant 29 

of the County Commissioners to divide their re- Albert M. Stevens^ Second Lieutenant 32 

.. J. . , .... T ■ ■ John T. Shank, First iScrgeant 39 

spective counties into military divisions, con- Enoch Marsh, Second Sergeant 28 

forming as near as possible to township lines, i-i<-orge Boler, Third Sergeant 33 

•L T • . , J. T J 1 i_ Robert Shannon, Fourth Sergeant 43 

each division to form a company and to elect j^mes Lattimer, First Corporal 37 

by ballot its captain, lieutenants and subor- Jfsse Thomas, Second Corporal 33 

T , ™. ,, . „. , , Jesse JLack, Third Corporal 28 

dmate officers, all superior officers to be ap- ^ath. Stevens, Fourth Corporal 39 

pointed by the governor. In accordance with this ^- M. Nash, Fifth Corjioral 34 

1,1 T7, ,, ^ , -r -.o^o H. A. Tiffanv, Sixth Corporal 25 

inue Earth County was on January, 1863, Wm. Butterfield, Seventh Corpora! 35 

divided by its county board into twelve military John Bare, Eighth Corporal 33 

districts numbered as follows: Privates: 


No. 1. Mankato. Andrews, O A 23 

-.J Andrews, Warren 31 

JNO. 2. South Bend. Affolter, Rudolph 43 

No. 3. Judson. Arlidge, Alexander 26 

■,-, ^ -r> Austin Patrick — 

JN 0. 4. Butternut Valley. Bagley, Alvah W 24 

No. 5. Watonwan and Pox' Lake. c^'^'^'^^Pd " ™' ^ ^ 

No. _ 6. Vernon and Ceresco. Buckmister, George' .............................. 2^ 

No. 7. Shelby and Otsego. Baumgardner, John 38 

HT n „. ,. ^ Case, E. L 46 

JNo. 8. sterling. Case, Henry R 36 

No. 9. Mapleton. Chapman, Darius N 40 

vr„ in -r. -11 Childs, B. P — 

JNo. 10. Danville Ci-andall, Arthur 20 

No. 11. Le Eay and Jamestown. Crandall, Wm 31 

•vTn io T- Cooper, Geo. W 24 

JNo. 12. Lime. Darling, L J 30 

Darling, J. A — 

January 28th, 1863, was designated as the day Day, Pardon B 44 

for each district to meet and elect officers. Most Dimo'nd, ° John 35 



Age In March, dictrict No. 9 (Mapleton) was 

Farley, ^en^am'in' ''['.[[['.'.['. '^V^y^V^'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'. ^ divided in tlie center, the east half attached to 

Gere, 'nsIsoii 43 Danville, and the west half to Sterling, and 

H eSan^" G^eorge ■•.;■.•.:;;•.■.■.;;;::::;;::::::;::;;:: 39 district x\ o. 3 ( judson) was divided and the west 

Hupt, W. H 34 half attached to Butternut Valley and the east 

Khlnf' "^iorlee '. ' ^ 30 ^^^^ *" 8°^*^^^ ^^^^- ^^ February 1862 Con- 
Marsh,' Geo. W — gress passed an act appropriating $300,000 to 

Aiii^^^' /" ^ 43 indemnify persons damaged by the Sioux War 

Miller' Tobias 32 and appointed Cyrus Aldrich of Minnesota, J. 

Purdy, Daniel 18 j,_ p^^.^^^. ^^ Wisconsin and A. S. White of 

Purdy, Solomon ■^o 

Roberts, Stephen S 36 Indiana as commissioners to pass on the claims. 

Eoss, Milton - Q^ Pebruary 28, 1863, the County Board 

Stevens, Levi — •' ' •" 

Taylor, C. L — vacated the old townsites of "Crystal Lake City," 

True"^' Benedior'^'^ ':'.'/".'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'. ^ "Mapleton ^ and Watonwan City." March 14, 

Woodman, Sylvester 43 1863, a new mail route was established to run 

Young, G. G — horn Mankato by way of Madelia and Sioux 

The rosters of the other companies are lost. Falls to Ft. Randall Dakota Territory. 
A list of the officers has been kept in a few About January 1, 1863, a secert society called 
eases. The principal ofEicers were for instance "Knights of the Forest" was organized at a 
at Vernon Center: Lucius Terry, Capt., Theodore law office in Block 14 of Mankato. Its pur- 
Sowers, 1st Lieut., F. C. Mickerson, 2nd Lieut.; pose was to have both Sioux and Winnebago 
at Sterling, H. Miller, Captain; at South Bend, Indians removed from Minnesota. Sublodges 
Capt., B. Y. Coffin, 1st Lieut. D. D. Evans, were organized at Garden City and Meridan 
2nd Lieut. Edward Jones;, at Butternut Valley, and perhaps elsewhere. Through the work of 
Captain, Jenkins Williams, 1st Lieut. David J. this society and the persistant clamor of the 
Williams, 2nd Lieut. David J. Davis, Jr. at Man- people all over the state, congress was finally 
krtto there were two companies, one composed induced during February and March 1863, to 
wholly of Germans of which Wm. Bierbauer was at pass acts for the removal of both tribes from 
first Captain, but in June, when Mr. Bierbauer was Minnesota to Nebraska and South Dakota. We 
promoted to be major of the Regiment, J. C. have already detailed the circumstances of the 
Haupt became captain, Phillip Hodapp, 1st departure of the Sioux. A number of the 
Lieut, and J. Wm. Hoerr 2nd Lieutenant. The friendly Sioux, though, were permitted to locate 
officers of the other Mankato company were: upon claims in the vicinity of the present vill- 
Captain, J. W. Batchelder, 1st Lieut. B. F. age of Morton. On April 25, 1863, two days 
Hotaling, 2nd Lieutenant Daniel Haire. The after the departure of the Sioux, the Winne- 
Danville and east Mapleton company did not bagoes were officially notified by their agent, 
elect officers until the fall, when Nelson Gray in a council convened for the purpose, of the 
was made captain. decision of the government, to remove them to a 

The regiment composed of the various com- new agency west of the Missouri. These Indians 

panics in Blue Earth County was designated were much opposed to the removal, and held a 

20th Regt. Minnesota State Militia. B. F. number of councils to discuss the matter and to 

Smith was appointed Colonel, and Henry Shau- express their disapproval. Baptiste Lassallieur, 

but, Lieut. Colonel. The companies were drilled their head chief, said he had seen the country 

every few days and there were one or two drills and that it was cold and barren, without tim- 

of the whole regiment at Mankato. In Sep- ber and not fit for habitation. They blamed old 

tember of this year D. C. Evans of South Bend Chief Winneshiek for his persistant opposition 

was commissioned Brigadier General of Militia, to the recent treaty, • which gave them eighty 

Between the regular soldiers and the militia acres of land in severalty. On May 3, about 

companies the county presented for two or three forty of them attended by one Marcus Moore 

years a very military appearance.^ went to Wilton, where Judge Donaldson was 



holding a term of court, and applied for Natur- 
alization papers, with intent to file on claims. 
The judge refused their application and the 
people had Moore arrested. Chief Winneshiek 
with 200 to 300 followers concluded to rebel, 
and retiring to Lake Elj'sian defied the authori- 
ties. This old chief was a strong character 
and the leader of the conservation party in the 
tribe, who were bitterly opposed to every inno- 
vation of civilized life, unless it may be whiskey. 
He always went clothed in Indian garb and 
generally carried an old spear rather than a 
gun. Because of his opposition to everything 
pertaining to civilization he had been deposed 
from the head chieftainship. 

The dishonesty of the whites, both in the 
distribution of government annuities and in 
sale of goods by traders, had much to do with 
fostering this ugly feeling among the Indians. 
It seems that in the distribution of the last 
goods sent by the government to this county for 
•the Winnebagoes, 1,420 blankets had been sent, 
but only 500 were delivered to the Indians; 
1150 yards of blue cloth sent, only 275 yards 
delivered; 990 yards of gray cloth sent, only 
330 yards delivered; 2756 yards of plaid linsey 
sent, none delivered; 28601^ yards of cloth 
sent, none delivered; foiir dozen plaid wool 
shawls sent, none delivered; three dozen extra 
blanket shawls sent, none delivered. The goods 
not delivered were estimated as worth $10,000. 
A citizen of Mankato told the writer of finding 
a line bolt of blue cloth above mentioned in an 
attic or shed and running a knife through it, 
so the thief might not profit by his theft. The 
authorities were not the only ones to blame, 
but many of the employees and others thought 
it no sin to steal from Indians. This is but 
a sample of what was being done at every Agency 
and at most every payment. 

Justus C. Eamsey, brother of governor Eam- 
sey, was appointed by the government as agent 
for the removal of the Winnebagoes. A camp 
was formed to receive them on the river bank, 
just back of the Hubbard Mill in Mankato, 
which was designated "Camp Porter," in honor 
of John J. Porter, who had been most active 
m their removal. The first installment of these 
Indians arrived on' May 5, and numbered about 

The next day (ila}- 6) the 'Winnebagoes under 
Chief Winneshiek, killed two tSioux spies, who 
had come to visit them at Lake Elysian, and 
mutilated their bodies in a shocking manner. 
Another Sioux, who had married a A\'innebago 
squaw and had lived with the tribe all winter, 
left them saying he was going to tell the Sioux. 
They followed him to the Agency and Idlled 
him, also, and dismembered his body in a most 
horrible manner. They cut out his tongue and 
hung it on a pole, because he had said he would 
tell the Sioux. Another took his scalp and 
stretched it on a hoop attached to a pole, 
another took his head, another an arm. etc. The 
chief Little Priest cut off his finger nails with 
strips of skin attached and tied them about his 
ov/n wrists. A party of about twenty young bucks 
decked in paint and feathers, with virreaths of 
weeds and grass on their heads, brought the 
two Sioux scalps and the tongue, adorned with 
gay ribbons and fastened on poles, to JIankato 
with them and paraded along main and Front 
streets yelling and hooting to the accompani- 
ment of half a dozen Indian drums. This was 
done to curry favor with the M'hites and make 
them think they were the enemies of the Sioux. 

By May 9 the number of the Winnebagoes 
at Camp Porter had increased to over 800. On 
this date a company of soldiers were sent after 
chief Winneshiek and his party. On this date, 
also, the first detachment of the Indians took 
their departure from Mankato; 405 embark- 
ing on the steamer Pomeroy and 355 on the 
Eolian. On the first boat the war party with 
the two Sioux scalps embarked. They sat in 
a circle on the upper deck with the two scalps 
hung on poles in the center, pounding on their 
tomtoms and chanting a wild war song, their 
half naked bodies besmeared with mud and 
paint and their long unkempt hair full of grease 
and long feathers, a very picture of savagery, 
and thus they passed down the river. A great 
contrast were they to the conduct of the con- 
Terted Sioux. 

On May 10, 1863, 338 more Winnebagoes 
departed on the Pomeroy, and on the 14 of May 
about three hundred of Winneshiek's band left 
on the same boat. The balance of the tribe 
left in wagons on May 17 for St. Peter, where 
they took a boat. At Mankato there was much 



rejoicing over their departure; cannons were 
fired and flags raised. 

Thus the last Indian left Blue Earth county 
and a new era dawned upon its history. Here- 
tofore with six- townships and a half of its 
Tery best territory in the hands of the Indians 
the county's growth had been seriously stunted, 
but now that this great hampering stone of 
savagery was removed its progress and prosperity 
were assured. Settlers began rushing into this 
rich vacant land at once, even before the govern- 
ment had time to bring it to market. 

During the fall and winter of 1862-3 ^ com- 
panies of soldiers were stationed over the county. 
At Mankato a number of companies were main- 
tained, because of the Sioux prisoners. At South 
Bend one or two companies were kept. At 
Tivoli Company B of the 7th Minn., Capt. Cur- 
tis was stationed as protection against the Win- 
nebagoes. At Judson village was Captain Dane's 
company (E of the 9th). At Garden City a 
company of the 10th, at Vernon another com- 
pany of the 10th, and at Horeb church, in the 
present town of Cambria a portion of Company 
K of 9th Minn. Early in April company B 
of the 9th was sent from Judson to St. Peter 
and thence to. Hutchinson, while company D 
of the 9th took their place at Judson. This 
company was noted for its skill in fort building. 
At Judson they constructed a very vmique sod 
fort the remains of which may still be seen about 
eighty rods northeast of the Railway station, 
tiudge Lorin Cray was a member of this com- 
pany. About midsummer the fort was aban- 
. doned, and the company sent to Martin County. 
Captain Sullivan's company, also constructed 
an excellent pallisade fort* at Vernon. 

In the spring of 1863 Gen. Sibley began 
concentrating the troops at Camp Pope, about 
twenty-five miles west of Ft. Ridgely, prepara- 
tory to a campaign against the hostile Sioux 
in Dakota, and during April and May most of 
the soldiers in Blue Earth County were sent 
hither. Mankato was made the base of military 
supplies and several hundred wagon loads of 
goods were brought there at once from the var- 
ious military depots in the valley. The summer 
was spent by Gen. Sibley in a formidable expedi- 
tion against the hostile Sioux through Dakota to 

tlie Missouri River. Other than impressing the 
Indian with the thought of how big a war party 
the paleface could get up, it did not accomplish 

Marauding bands of Indians made their 
appearance throughout the settlements, very 
early in the spring. On April 16, 1863, a small 
Scandinavian settlement on the south branch 
of the Watonwan, twenty-one miles beyond Made- 
lia, was raided by them, and Ole Erickson, a 
member of Co. E, ^th, Minn., Christopher Gil- 
brantson (a boy twelve years old), Gilbrand 
Palmer, Gabriel Erlingren and Ole Palmerson 
were killed; and Jas. Small of Co. E, 7th 
Minn., Mrs. Torgeson, Simeon Roland, wife 
and a child were wounded. All summer long 
Indians would be seen every other day, here 
and there along the frontier, and every little 
while some settler would be killed or his horses 
stolen, and the whole country was kept in , a 
ferment of fear and excitement continually, 
A line of military posts were maintained along 
the frontier from Ft. Ridgely to the Iowa line, 
and scouts kept daily going back and forth 
between the posts. But all did not avail, for 
the skulking savages would crawl easily through 
these lini's, hiding in the brush and tall grass. 
Every day or two some one saw, or thought ho 
saw, (which was just as good), Indians here 
and there in Blue Earth County. In Lime 
town, Jamestown, at the mouth of the Blue 
Earth, in LeEay, in Ceresco, at Vernon, in 
Cambria, South Bend, Shelby and elsewhere 
Indians were reported during the summer and 
the militia were kept busy. So unsettled were 
matters that very little farming was done in the 

When on one of these raids Little Crow was 
shot and killed on July 3, 1863, near HuiJiin- 
son, but this did not effect the raids, for the 
Indians are not dependent upon chiefs. It wa? 
a squad of Blue Earth County boys belonging 
to Co. E, 9th Minn., stationed at Hutchinson, 
who went after the body of Little Crow. 

About the middle of June 1863 E. P. Evans 
of Garden City, C. A. Warner of Chaska anS 
jMr. Thomas of Washington were appointed 
appraisers of the Winnebago lands. By the fw- 
visions of Law, 179 of the 334 sections in 

I'VPTiST Mission Chorck 


0(f6 TMd T@g«)(J^i^O[?)a ^ 6^^(s^&^(aT©s«^[6)(l(S@(^B^ 

a>l5T N253 'THe«0FFmflNfiC«O0l.-«fl«KiPTOtV»R^ 



ir county were to be sold on bids, leaving- 
fty-five sections for preemption. The em-.- 
rants continued to pour into the hmd froiu 
II sides. Some had houses ready built on 
leir wagons, which they occupied, while Ijreak- 
ig the land. The houses, which had been left 
t the Agency, were all quickly taken possession 
f, as were, also, the log cabins, which had been 
acated by the chiefs and halfbreeds. 
The settlers of Medo, at a picnic held in a 
rove on the banks of the Little Cobb, on July. 
, 1863, began to take steps to organize a 
3wn. It was decided at first to call the town 
Oak Grove," but it was discovered that there 
fas a town of that name already in the State. 
)n August 21, this name was changed to "Cam- 
ridge." Again it was discovered that this 
lame, also, had been appropriated, and hence, 
fhen on Sept. 2, 1863, the County Commis- 
ioners came to formally organize the town, its 
Id Indian name of "Medo" (small potatoes) 
ras again adopted. On the same date the old 
own of Eice Lake was organized imder the 
[ame of MeClellan (after Gen. i^IcClellan). 
The first election in Medo was held Sept. 19, 
,863, at the cabin of Hiram Stratton, when the 
ollowing persons were chosen its first super- 
isors: A. W. Barron, Chairman, S. B. Stebbins 
nd A. Bagley with Hiram Stratton as Clerk, 
^he first election for the town of MeClellan was 
leld on the same date at the residence of Lucius 
)yer, when the following persons -n-ere elected : 
Supervisors, Asa White, J. Y. Colwell and 
jucius Dyer; Clerk, Henry Foster; Treasurer, 
I. 0. Bartlett; Assessor, Chas. Manaige; Jus- 
ices J. L. Alexander and J. W. Colwell, Con- 
tables Aaron Foyles and Alexander Payer. At 
he same time the two towns were made the 
3th Militia District and each a separate school 
listrict. At the general election held ?s^ovember 3, 
'ledo cast 10 votes, 8 Eepublican and two Demo- 
ratic; and ^MeClellan 28 votes, 15 Democratic 
nd 13 Eepublican. The total vote of the 
ounty was 1,139. Our County went Eepublican 
y about 250 majority, but the great fight was 
n the Legislative candidates. Blue Earth and 
je Sueur Counties being then united as one 
•legislative District. The Democrats won, J. J. 
'orter defeating B. Y. Coffin for the senate, 

and Jas. A. Wiswell and colleagues being chosen 

The Commissioners appointed by the govern- 
ment to pass on the claims for damages by 
reason of the Sioux massacre met at ilankato 
from the 16th to the 24tli of July, 186:5. In 
all 2940 claims were filed, amounting to $2,600,- 
000 and of these $1,3:)0,000 were allowed. As 
the appropriation was only $200,000, and all 
expenses had to be paid out of this, including 
a salary of $2500 to each Commissioner, and 
the friendly Indians had to be given quite a 
slice from it, the percentage paid to the claim- 
ants was quite small, and from fifteen to 
twenty-five per cent of this had to be paid to 
attorneys for collecting it. The great bulk of 
tiie settlers who were real sufferers, i-eceivcd but 
small compensation for their losses. Some few 
doubtless, whose claims were overstrong, may 
have gotten more than they desen-ed, but not 
so with the great majority. For while the meek 
may inherit the earth, they are not always so 
sure of getting their share of government boun- 
ties of political preferments. 

Fourth of July celebrations were held this 
year at Shelbyville, Crystal Lake and elsewhere. 
The Shelbyville one was most prominent with 
Judge ^Yilcox, J. S. Bachckler, Eev. J. C. Con- 
rad and Eev. Eichardson as speech makers. 

An open winter and dry summer were not 
favorable to a good stage of water in the river, 
and navigation was not as good as the year 
before. The Jcnnette Eoberts was the first 
boat on April 3, and she was met at the Man- 
kato levee by over 1,000 soldiers anrl citizens, 
who gvivc her a royal welcome, their cheers ei'ho- 
ing far among the hills. The main traffic was 
the transportation of troops and military sup- 
plies. Over 60,000 bushels of wheat were car- 
ried from Mankato alone. The Flora was a 
new boat in the trade this year. 

Since the death of ~SIt. Hensley in December, 
1S62, the Independent had been without an 
editor. ^Ir. Gunning was a good printer, but 
not adapted for editorial work. John IST. Hall, 
who was then a very prominent and active 
leader in the Eepublican party, did most of the 
work. In July, 1863 the paper was sold to 
Chas. H. Slocum, who changed its name to 



"The Union" and published his first issue under 
date of July 17, 1863. 

The last of May of this same year Mr. Wise 
of the "Record" purchased of the Baptist So- 
ciety a frame building they had been using 
as a church in block twelve, Mankato, which 
he occupied with his paper about the first of 
June. This location has ever since been the 
home of "The Eecord" and its successor "The 

In the spring of 1863, the Catholic peo- 
ple of Mankato and vicinity began agitating the 
establishment • of a parochial school, and a 
society was organized, which by midsummer, had 
a membership of nmety. The initiation fee 
was $2.00 and the tuition price fixed at $3.50 
a year. Through the untiring efforts of Father 
Sommereisen the Sisters of Notre Dame of 
Milwaukee, Wis., were induced to open a school 
that fall at Mankato. A portion of the church 
was fitted up for the purpose. 

So far the Protestants had no regular church 
building in Mankato. This year the Presby- 
terians began to urge earnestly the building 
cf a church edifice, and purchased the lot 
now occupied by the Security Flats for the 

This year Bierbauer and Eockey purchased 
the South Bend Flour mill and also the large 
sawmill on the Bhie Earth in West Mankato, 
the machineries of which they removed to 
buildings they had erected for the purpose on 
the corner of Front and Eock streets, in Man- 
kato, where they conducted an extensive milling 
business for years. 

On June 24th, 1863, the Mapleton steam saw 
mill of Middlebrook Bros, was burned, leav- 
ing that section of the county destitute of all 
mill privileges. On Aug. 1st, 1863, Wm. H. 
Blackmer of Shelljyville was appointed deputy 
Provost Marshall for Blue Earth County and 
on his enlisting in the army a month later 
J. T. Williams was made his successor. 

At this time the great civil war was calling 
for every efl'ort to save the Union. On the 
return of Gen. Sibley in September, 1863, the 
government ordered the 7th, 9th, and 10th, 
Jlinn., Eegiments South. There was gloom and 
sorrow in many a home over the parting and, 

not only because of the danger of southern 
battlefields to which the boys were going, but 
also, because of the danger to helpless wife and 
children, and aged parents left at home, ex- 
posed to the raids of the hundreds of skulking 
savages, still on the war path. 

On Sept. 30th, the ladies of Mankato pre- 
pared a big banquet for the soldiers before 
their departure. But the government was not 
satisfied with sending these regiments into the 
smoke of the great conflict but more men were 
called for, and the dread specter of those days, 
the draft, was hovering over every home, where 
there was a man or boy left. War meetings were 
held again this fall in every neighborhood through 
the county, and the towns whose quotas of enlist- 
ed men were not full, were making every effort 
to fill them and escape the draft. Doctors and 
lawyers agreed to give their services free, mer- 
chants offered barrels of flour to the families of 
such as would enlist. High School boys banded 
themselves to saw wood for the soldiers famil- 
ies. There were many enlistments made over 
the county, most of whom went into the second 
Eeg. Minn., Cavalry. 

Until late in the fall the government had 
sent no supplies to the new Winnebago and 
Sioux reservations, far out on the Missouri, 
and they had no food for the winter. James 
B. Hubbell of Mankato took the contract, 
and about the first of November, 1863, he 
started with a long train of supplies. The per- 
ils of winter storms and hostile Indians was so 
great, that many belonging to the military 
escort and teamsters furnished by the govern- 
raent. mutinied near Crystal Lake. The burrs 
were, taken off the wagon wheels at night and 
hid, and many men deserted. Mr. Hubbell, with 
his wonted push and energy, got a number of 
Blue Earth County farmers to help him and 
in spite of every obstacle delivered the supplies 
at their destination, an almost incredible feat. 
The adventures of this expedition read like a 
romance, but are outside this history. It is 
said the contractor received nine cents a pound 
for the transportation, amounting to about 
$54,000.00. The expedition made the distance 
of 280 miles in eighteen days. 

In 1862, Blue Earth County produced 73,- 



511 bushels of wheat, 6,355 bushels of rye, 2,- 
G41- bushels of barley, 60,889 bushels of oats, 
1,563 bushels of buckwheat, 101,423 bushels 
of com and 57,145 bushels of potatoes. 

In February, 1864, J. A. Wiswell had a bill 
enacted by the Legislature changing the name 
of the town of Watonwan to "Garden City.'^ 
A bill was, also, passed authorizing Blue Earth 
County to vote on the proposition to issue bonds 
to build the following bridges: $6,000.00 over 
Blue Earth at Mankato, $1,300.00 at Garden 
City, $1,200.00 at Vernon, $1,500.00 over the 
Le Sueur on Agency road. At the special elec- 
tion in April the measure was defeated by a 
vote of 382 to 306. 

The Legislature had, also, authorized Man- 
kato to issue $10,000.00 in bonds to build a 
new school house and the bonds were voted on 
April 2nd, 1864. During the winter of 1863-4 
there was much excitement over the alleged 
discovery of coal on the Big Cottonwood by 
Prof. Eames, a geologist from Indiana. Th's in 
the summer of 18'64, brought on an epidemic of 
coal discoveries in Blue Earth County. 

There was, also, much talk in our county, and 
especially in Mankato, regarding the "St. Paul 
and Sioux City," and the "Winona and St. 
Peter" railways. During the summer survey- 
ing parties of these railways were at work in 
the county. 

In March, 1864, the County Commissioners 
attached the south tier of sections in Town 
lOS, Range twenty-five to LoEay and the south 
tier of sections in town 108, range twenty-six to 
Mankato, and in May the South tier of sections 
in Town 108, Eange twenty-seven were attached 
to South Bend and Mankato. On May 2nd, 
1864, David Wilcox was appointed county Sup- 
erintendent of schools at a salary of $200.00 
a year. 

The winter of 1863-4, after a few weeks of 
severe weather during the holidays broke up 
early and some seeding was done in February. 
A? there was but little snow or rain the river 
was rather low. The first boat at Mankato was 
the Jeanette Eoberts on April 16th. A new boat 
called "Mankato" was put on the Jlinnesota 
late this year. The citizens of the county seat 
were so pleased with the compliment done them 

in the matter of name, that they presented the 
boat next spring with a new $30.00 flag. The 
Eockey and Bierbauer new steam fiour mill be- 
gan operations in April. 

On January 15th, 1864, J. T. WilHams re- 
signed as County Treasurer and E. D. B. Por- 
ter was appointed in his stead, and on March 
2fith J. J. Lewis of Sterling was appointed 
County Commissioner in place of Xelson Gray, 
who resigned. During May and June there was 
a great immigration into the Winnebago lands. 

In June, 1864, occurred the disastrous battle 
of Guntown, Miss., in which the 9th Minnesota 
suffered severelj^, causing great gloom and sor- 
row in many a Blue Earth County home as 
two or three of its companies had been largely 
recruited there. 

With the opening of spring in 1864, the In- 
dians began their raids into the settlements, 
mostl)' for the purpose of stealing horses. The 
friendly Indians laid much of the blame of these 
continued hostilities to false reports circulated 
among the Warring bands by a certain Indian 
named Enoch, to the effect that the whites 
had hung all the Indian prisoners. That the 
woods in the vicinity of Mankato were full 
of their skeletons. This so exasperated their 
relatives among the hostiles that they made these 
raids in quest of revenge. On May 18th, 1864, 
a hostile band raided a Settlement near Ma- 
delia and killed a boy named Jorgenson, and 
wounded a soldier. On May 31st a man named 
Dodge discovered an Indian in the woods near 
his home in South Bend, and with half a dozen 
soldiers of Company M. 2nd Cav., then stationed 
at South Bend village, he went in search and 
found him seated on a log smoking and one of 
the soldiers (a half breed Chippeway) shot and 
killed him. Almost ever\' week during the 
whole summer Indians were seen here and 
there along the frontier and a number of whites 
and Indians were killed. 

About four o'clock in the afternoon of Thurs- 
day, August 11th, 1864, ISToble G. Eoot, with his 
two sons, Edward, aged 13 years, and Isaac S., 
11 years years old, was in his field in section 
four of Shelby stacking some oats. Two In- 
dians suddendly emerged from the timber near 
by and were upon him before he was aware of 



their presence. The main purpose of the In- 
dians was to steal his horses, hnt Mr. Eoot was 
a brave man and faced the foe in defence of his 
property. One of the Indians immediately shot 
him in the breast inflicting a mortal wound. See- 
ing their father fall, the two boys slipped down 
from the load and ran for the brush. One of 
the Indians fired after them and hit Edward in 
tlie shoulder making a painful, but not very ser- 
ious wound. The savages then cut the horses 
loose from the wagon and mounting them hur- 
ried off to the west. Edward now came back to 
his father, whom he found still alive and con- 
scious, procured water for him and watched be- 
side him for an hour or two, until he died. 
Other members of the family rushed off to the 
neighbors for help. In the meantime the two In- 
dians crossed to the west side of the Blue Earth 
and were joined by five or six others. On the 
knoll of the old cemetery near the center of 
section six of Shelby they found some horses 
grazing, and, by means of a long rope held at 
either end by the two mounted Indians, they 
drove them toward a fence to coral them. On the 
forty acres just west of the cemetery Jesse 
Mack, James H. Hindman and Cornelius Pox 
were loading some loose grain, the former on 
the load and the two latter on the ground 
pitching. The Indians discovering they had a 
span of horses, started for them at once. The 
whites saw them coming and Hindman climbed 
upon the load, but before Fox could do so. 
Mack had prodded the team to a gallop, so he 
clung to the rear. It was a mad race across 
the field toward Willow Creek. In crossing a 
dead furrow Mr. Hindman was thrown clear off 
the load. He picked himself up quickly still 
clinging to his pitchfork and started to run, 
but when he got the dirt out of . his eyes, he 
saw that he was going towards the Indians. It 
did not take him- long to change his direction, 
but the Indians paid no attention to him, as 
they were after the horses. Mr. Mack finally 
won the race and hid his horses in a grove by 
Oliver Mather's house. He procured there Wm. 
McQueen's gun, with which to defend himself 
and team. The Indians in their chase after 
Jesse Mack discovered some- horses tied around 
the house of Gustavus McCollum on the south 

of northwest quarter of section 13 of Pleasaiit' 
Mound, on west side of Willow Creek. A num- 
ber of neighbors were gathered there for a so- 
cial time and a supper. When the Indians ap- 
l)eared on the scene there was a great scattering. 
Jesse Thomas got hold of an old rusty rifle, which 
would not go off, and by flourishing it managed to 
scare away the Indians, while he and his wife 
mounted their own horses and rode away. The In- ' 
dians managed to secure two or three horses here 
and hurried off to the south. About a mile up Wil- 
low Creek they spied Chas. C. Mack, usually 
called "Squire Mack," the father of Jesse Mack, 
cutting hay along the west bank of a small 
branch of the creek, near the west line of sec- 
tion 23, with a span of horses and a mower. 
Before he was aware the foe were upon him and 
shot him dead. The Hindman children, who 
witnessed the tragedy from a distance, said the 
Squire had quite a quarrel with the Indians be- 
fore he was shot. The horses ran a few rods 
until the mower was broken and then were cap- 
tured by the Indians. Each Indian being now 
supplied, with a horse they galloped off to the 
west. When they reached Mr. Hindman's house 
on the northeast corner of section 27 of Pleasant 
Mound, they stopped and broke into it just as 
the children escaped by a back door and hid in 
a slough near by. Mrs. Hindman had not re- 
turned from the McCollum quilting party. The 
Indians ransacked the house from cellar to gar- 
ret ; carried out the feather beds and emptied 
them in the yard; the flour they threw out with 
the feathers. They took the works out of the 
clock and carried them off as jewelry. They 
also appropriated whatever suited their fancy, 
and destroyed most of what they left. 

Mr. Hindman, whom we left making rapid 
progress from the Mack field after being thrown 
from the load am'ong the blood thirsty savages,' 
fled into the brush of Willow Creek. After 
following the head of the stream in the direction 
of his home about half a mile he ventured up 
on the bank, where there was a little clearing. 
There looking straight at him and only a few 
rods away were those same Indians. Hindman 
was too much astonished and out of breath to ■ 
run so he and the Indians stood facing each 
other. One of the savages drew a big knife- 



and came straight towards him. He still had 
his pitchfork and promptly brought it to a charg- 
ing position. When within a few feet of the 
fork tines the Indian halted and he and Hind- 
man looked each other in the eye for a few 
moments. The Indian did not like the looks of 
the pitchfork and concluded to retreat and Hind- 
man came to the same conclusion and after he 
had gotten an opportunity to start it did not 
take him long to leave that neighborhood. He 
lied down the creek to the home of Mr. Mack, 
where he found his own pony, which he had rid- 
den there that morning. Mounting him he made 
all speed to his home which he reached after 
sundown. He found the house deserted and 
plundered. Eemounting his pony he started 
full speed down the road for the McCollum home. 
When he had gone a little ways his pony looked 
sharply to one side and neighed. Hindman 
peered in the direction indicated through the 
twilight and there not over 300 feet away were 
those Indians again. It is needless to say tha.4 
the pony did not have time to either neigh or 
look sideways again for many miles. 

Proceeding westward they next broke into the 
home of Esv. tsaac Gardiner, a preacher of the 
United- Brethren church, who lived on the north- 
east quarter of section 20. Gardiner and his 
family fled from the house on the approach of 
the Indians and escaped southward. The In- 
dians carried off with them a lot of good cloth- 
ing they found here and continued their re- 
treat westward. 

The excitement in Shelby, Pleasant Mound 
and Vernon that night was intense. The set- 
tlers everywhere deserted their homes. Some 
fled to Shelbyville; others to "Vernon, where there 
was a good stockade built around the Smith Ho- 
tel, while others still gathered at Mr. Harriman's 
log house midway between the two villages. 
Early next morning the Shelby militia under 
Capt. Phineas Lattin, mounted and armed with 
condemned government muskets, started in pur- 
suit of the Indians. They found the body of 
Squire Mack and sent it back to Vernon. They, 
also, found the Hindman children, hiding in 
the slough hack of their pillaged home, 
where they had passed the night. From here 

westward by Eev. Gardiner's house and beyond 
the west line of the county, it was easy to fol- 
low the trail, as it was strewn with pillows, 
quilts and articles of clothing, which the sav- 
ages had dropped by the way. But far out in 
Watonwan County the trail was lost and, after 
continuing the pursuit beyond where St. James 
now stands, the militia returned. This same 
day messengers were sent to Mankato and to 
Fort Eidgely with news of the outrage. Capt. 
Smith with a squad of eight men of Second 
cavalry were dispatched from the fort at once. 
It is claimed Capt. Smith came up with the 
Indians late in the afternoon and had a brush 
with them; but they hid in the tall grass of 
a lake. As there were eight of them, the cap- 
tain concluded that discretion was the best part 
of valor, so let them go. 

Friday evening B. D. Pay was dispatched to 
St. Paul as a special envoy to Gov. Miller for 
military aid. This same Friday evening Major 
Ed. Bradley left Mankato with a company of 
mounted militia, who pursued after the Indians 
about 125 miles, but failed to overtake them. 
In response to Mr. Pay's appeal Gov. Miller 
dispatched twenty men of Company K, second 
Cavalry and twenty men of Brackett's Battalion 
from Fort Snelling to aid in the pursuit, but 
the Indians had made good their escape into the 
Dakota plains long before their arrival. 

Immediately after this raid companies of 
minute men were organized all over the county. 
At Mankato A. M. Collins was made captain, 
.1. C Haupt first lieutenant and W. J. Duly, 
second lieutenant of such a company. At Ver- 
non a company of twenty-two men was organized 
with A. D. Mason second lieutenant. At Shel- 
byville a lilce company was formed and at Gar- 
den City. Major Evans suggested the idea of 
getting twenty-five negro hounds to hunt the 
Indians with. 

On the 38th of August, 1864, the men who 
had enlisted from Blue Earth County in Com- 
pany C, 11th Minn., Vol., rendezvoused at Man- 
kato preparatory to their departure for Ft. 
Snelling to enlist. T. E. Potter of Garden 
City was made their Captain and James Can- 
non of Mankato- second Lieutenant. 



During the summer of 1864 Silas Kenworthy of a great educational university at Mankato, 

and his sons-in-law, H. Mendenhall and Jas. B. had built him a large frame house on the brow 

Swan, began the erection on the Blue Earth of of ' the high bluff overlooking the present St. 

the famous Eapidan Mill. About the same Joseph's hospital in Mankato. Here he opened 

time C. P. Cook, a nursery man of Garden City, a 3'oung ladies' seminary on November 1st, 1864. 

purchased a tract of land with a water power It was called ''Woodland Seminary," and mo- 

thereon lower down on the Blue Earth. Here deled after the plan of Mt. Holyoke seminary, 

he laid out a townsite called "Eapidan," after The instructors were Miss Angle Crosby, assistant, 

a stream in Virginia just then prominent in who was an experienced teacher, fine singer, 

the operations of the Army of the Potomac, good housekeeper and manager; Miss Eliza W. 

Thither he removed much of his nursery late Huggins and her sister Nannie, who had both 

that fall. During the same fall a saw and grist been in mission work among the Sioux and 

mill was fitted up and put into operation by were fine teachers, and Miss Belden, the music 

Aaron Hilton at Winnebago Agency. teacher. The curriculum included besides Eng- 

September 21st, 1864, the Sunday schools of lish, German and French, and the tuition ranged 
the county held a big picnic on the banks of from $7.50 to $13.50 per term. The parlor was 
Loon Lake. On October 25th the first teachers' seated and desked for .about forty pupils, the 
institute was held at the Farmers' Hall in Gar- next room had a piano and was devoted to 
den City, at which addresses were made by Eev. music study. There were about twenty-five 
Jas. Thomson, E. D. B. Porter and J. G. boarding pupils and eight or ten day scholars 
Craver. It may be of interest to give a list of in attendance. Each girl boarder brought her 
those present at this first public school insti- own food and was required to do one hour's 
tute, which is as follows : Eev. Jas. Thomson, work each day, and for that purpose the school 
Eev. I. Case, E. D. B. Porter, Jas. Miller, S. was systematically divided. Two girls were 
C. Clark, Dr. Welcome, Lem. Crane, Calvin to prepare breakfast, getting up at 4:30 A. M., 
Ellis, J. Bookwalter, J. E. Edsell, Edwin so the morning meal could be served promptly 
Craven, Carrie Pease, Clara JMcKenney, H. at six o'clock each morning; two were to clear 
Libbie Millet, Ella Clark, Emma Smith, Eliza- the table and wash the breakfast dishes, one 
beth Friend, Eliza A. Barney, Mary E. Jones, was to spend her hour sweeping and dusting, 
Nettie Hanna, Annie Patterson, Carrie Burgess, two prepared dinner and two washed the dishes 
Jennette Conklin, Florence Evans, Vernette after that meal, etc. Father Thomson was a 
Cram, Anna Parks, Hattie Eew, Emily Folsom, Puritan of the Puritans. He got up regularly 
Sarah A. Conklin, Isabella S. Burgess, Stella at 3:30 A. M., winter and summer, and all 
Sullivan, Prudence Degraff, Amanda Gail, Addie were to rise at 5 :30 A. M. After breakfast a 
Gail, Julia Marvin, Jennie Marvin, Ella Wei- half hour was devoted to morning worship, 
come, A. C. Barney, Secretary, and David Wil- The girls published a paper called the 'TVood- 
eox, President. land Lighthouse," which was issued every two 
Father Thomson, whose hobby ever since he weeks. Miss Huggins! health failing, she re- 
came to Minnesota had been the establishment signed after the first term, and was succeeded 




by Miss Martha T. Eiggs, daughter of the noted 
missionary. A few of the girls, who attended 
this old-time seminary are among the honored 
matrons of the county, and love to tell of the 
good old days when they attended Woodland 
Seminary. After about a year and a half 
Father Thomson was obliged to abandon this 
educational project, because of the lack of funds 
and the failing health of his wife, and Wood- 
land Seminary was no more. The old building 
still stands on the brow of the blufE, now almost 
a ruin. 

This year (1864) we note the first recorded 
attempt to manufacture sorghum in the coun- 
ty by A. J. Crisp of Judson. Doubtless, 
others had started the industry before this, for 
in the early sixties it became quite common over 
the county. 

In the fall of this year the grasshoppers made 
their appearance in large numbers in the pres- 
ent town of Cambria, devouring all the late 

The political situation in the fall of 1864 was 
as interesting as usual. There was a warm 
contest in the Eepublican primaries over the 
nomination for District Judge between Sherman 
Finch of Mankato and Horace Austin of St. 
Peter. • The convention was held at St. Peter 
and Mr. Austin won by one vote, and was 
elected that fall over Judge Branson, the Demo- 
cratic nominee. The Eepublicans were again 
successful in Blue Earth County. The news of 
the re-election of President Lincoln gave the 
Eepublicans great cause for rejoicing. The girls 
of Woodland Seminary, being great admirers 
of the War President, celebrated the event by a 
grand illumination of their building, which 
because of the conspicuous situation, was quite 

Senator Wilkinson in his distribution of gov- 
ernment patronage had made many enemies in 
his own party. Not one in ten of the various 
applicants for office could receive appointments 
and the nine unsuccessful ones felt ugly towards 
him. Then the Senator, in spite of his great 
ability and integritj^, had one very vulnerable 
point. He was addicted to intemperate hab- 
its, which drove from him the support of 
many of the best people of his party. The 

result was that he failed of re-election, and a 
man of very mediocre ability succeeded him. 

Among the other events of 1864 was the 
building of the Presbyterian church, which was 
first occupied on November 37th, when the first 
sermon in it was preached by Father Thomson. 

On March 2nd, 1865, Mr. L. C. Harrington, 
then a member of the Legislature, secured the 
passage of a bill changing the name of the 
town of "McClelan" to "McPherson," in honor 
of the noted Union General of the Civil War, 
and also changing the name of "De Soto" to 
"Eapidan." The town of McClelan, being set- 
tled largely by people of the Democratic faith, 
made a vigorous objection to the change, but it 
availed not. The Eepublicans were in the ma- 
jority, and party spirit ran high in those days. 
During the winter Capt. Hugh G. Owens was 
busy recruiting a company for Heavy Artillery 
service in the war. In February, 1865, this 
company was mustered in, as Company F. 

On February 24, 1865, the first medical so- 
ciety was organized at the Mankato House by 
the physicians of Blue Earth and adjoining 
counties. The officers selected were: 

President, Dr. W. E. McMahan of Mankato. 

Vice-President, Dr. A. W. Daniels of St. 

Secretary, Dr. Wm. Frisbie of Mankato. 

Corresponding Secretaries, Drs. Weschke of 
New Ulm, and J. W. B. Welcome of Garden 

Comniittee on Constitution and Bylaws, Drs. 
La Dow of St. Peter, Frisbie and Zenopolski 
of Mankato, Welcome of Garden City, and Fran- 
cis of Sterling. 

The winter of 1864-5 was quite mild, with 
hardly any snow until March, when there was 
quite a fall. Between the snow and copious 
rains the navigation of the Minnesota was 
quite good in the spring and sunamer of 1865. 
The Mollie Mohler and Julia entered the river 
as new boats. Other boats engaged were the 
Albany, Mankato, Ariel, Stella Whipple, Lans- 
ing, General Sheridan and others. These boats 
brought up on their first trips over fifty wagon 
loads of goods for Garden City, Vernon, Shel- 
byville and other towns along the Blue Earth, 
which required mnch teaming. The boats car- 



ried back with them over 145,000 bushels of 
wheat from Mankato alone. 

The public school teachers of Blue Earth 
county held another meeting of their new as- 
sociation at Mankato on April 19th, 1865, when 
the following officers were elected : 

President, Prof. J. G. Craven. 

Vice-Presidents, E«v. Thos. Marshall and Jas. 
A. Wiswell. 

Recording Secretary, Miss Carrie Pease. 

Cor. Secretary, Miss J. A. Parsons. 

Treasurer, Miss M. E. Walker. 

Editor, D. Wilcox. 

Associate Editors, E. Middlebrook, M. P. 
Hathaway, Miss E. L. Miller, Miss Anna 
Jenkins, Miss A. M. Crosby and Miss A. Per- 
rin. About thirty or forty teachers were in 

Andrew J. Jewett had for a number of 
years been a prominent citizen of Garden 
City, where for a time he had held the posi- 
tion of Postmaster. He was very active and 
energetic both in the local politics of the 
county and in business. The previous sum- 
mer he had purchased the northwest quarter 
of section thirty-three in Eapidan, built there- 
on a neat log house, and was living there with 
his wife, Harriet Jewett, their two year old 
son, William, and Mr. Jewett's parents, Mark 
Jewett aged seventy-three and Susan Jewett 
aged sixty-three, the latter being an invalid. 
With the family working at this time was a 
young man twenty years old named Chas. 
Taylor, a relative of the Jewett's, whose father, 
Moses Taylor, had been killed by a horse 
kick the year before, and whose widowed 
mother lived on the claim across the road 
from S. T. Mills in Garden City. Mr. Jewett 
was now about thirty-two years old and Mrs. 
Jewett about thirty, both in the prime of life. 
Mr. Jewett had a friend in the army, Mar- 
shall T. Fall, 3nd Lieut, of Co. B, Brackett's 
Battalion of Cavalry, who, about the first of 
April, 1865, sent Mr. Jewett some $500.00 
in money to pay for a farm he had bid off 
for him at the second sale of the Winnebago 
lands, which payment it was expected would 
be demanded soon. It seems that in Com- 
pany A of the same regiment was a half breed 

Sioux, named John L. Campbell, a brother 
of Baptiste Campbell, one of the thirty-eight 
Indians hung at Mankato in 1862. He had 
got well acquainted with Lieut. Fall, having 
occupied the same tent, and knew of his send- 
ing the money to Mr. Jewett and where the 
latter was living in Blue Earth County. He 
had always borne a hard reputation and was 
accused of two or three murders among the 
Indians. Soon after Lieut. Fall had sent the 
money, Campbell deserted and came back to 
Minnesota. He repaired immediately to Ft. 
Ridgely and thence went west, where he met 
among the hostile bands some of his old 
Indian and half breed friends. Five of these 
he induced to join him in a raid into Blue 
Earth County, pretending he wished to avenge 
the death of his brother, and also holding out 
prospects of rich booty in horses and goods. 
The success of former raids, which had been 
made into the same locality, was also pointed 
out. Stealing cautiously by the lines of mili- 
tary posts, they arrived near the Jewett home 
on the evening of May 1st, 1865. The next 
morning at about half past six o'clock while 
the family were eating breakfast, the Indians 
came upon them suddenly through the east 
door of the cabin. There was another door at 
the North end of the cabin, and Mrs. Jewett 
snatched up her little boy and dashed out 
through this door, followed by her husband. 
Some of the Indians fired upon them and 
]iursued them. Mr. lewett fell within four 
rods of the house with a bullet through ids 
breast. The wound was not necessarily fatal, 
but an Indian immediately struck him with 
his tomahawk over the right eye fracturing his 
skull and killing him instantly. His wife 
fell dead in the path about eight rods from 
the house with a bullet near the heart. The 
little child was struck a severe blow on the 
head and left on the ground for dead, ten 
feet from its mother. Twenty rods north of 
the house, in a small ravine in the timber, 
Chas. Tyler was chopping. Him they shot 
dead through the breast with a ball, a buckshot, 
and an arrow. Mark Jewett, the old gentle- 
man had apparently just pushed his chair 
back from the table when he was shot in the 



forehead^ the ball coming out near the crown. 
An Indian had then dealt him two terrible 
blows with his tomahawk, one cut, a gash five 
inches long, extending from the top of the 
head to near the right ear, the second gash, 
about an inch forward of the other was about 
three inches long. Mrs. Jewett, St., had been 
tomahawked in bed. One of the savages had 
struck her with the back of his tomahawk on 
the forehead and nose smashing that part of 
her head in, and on top of her head, and on 
the right of her forehead were two fright- 
ful gashes made by the blade of the tomahawk. 
She must have been killed instantly. The In- 
dians then plundered the house and took a 
horse, which Jewett owned, and John Camp- 
bell secured the money. 

Taking the horse and other booty with them 
the Indians went diagonally across the Rapi- 
dan prairie in a northeasterly direction and 
entered the Le Sueur timber just north of a 
little ravine on the Gilbert Webster land in 
section eleven, where they built a fire and 
cooked their dinner. They were seen, when 
passing over the prairie, by a son of H. C. 
Eberhart while herding sheep and it may be 
by one or two other persons. 

Having no further use for his associates, 
Campbell left after dinner and took the road 
for Mankato, evidently intending to go to his 
mother's home at Traverse Des Sioux. His 
main object evidently had been to secure the money 
and he used his five Indian comrades merely 
as tools to help secure the booty, and to hide 
his crime, for he thought the whites, when 
they discovered the deed, would naturally at- 
tribute it to these, five hostiles. Why he in- 
duced his fellow Indians to make the timber 
and bluffs of the Le Sueur back of Mankato 
their hiding place, or under . what pretext he 
left them will never be known. Certainly no 
better hiding place could be found in the 
county, and moreover it was admirably situa- 
ted for carrying out the pretended objects 
of the expedition, to attack Mankato and steal 
horses. It is quite likely that the plan de- 
termined upon between Campbell and the 
other Indians was for him to go to Mankato 
as a white man, unarmed, and thus spy out 

the best way to make the attack and, also, 
learn where there were horses to steal. Wheth- 
er Campbell had any thought of carrying 
out such designs may well be doubted. It 
probably was only a way of getting rid of his 
Indian allies, now that his purpose with them 
had been accomplished. How his plans were 
foiled we shall see later. 

Mr. Harlow, a neighbor of Jewett heard the 
firing about six o'clock in the morning, but 
thought nothing of it at the time. About two 
hours later he went over to Jewett's home to bor- 
row a wagon. As he approached the house he came 
upon Mrs. Jewett lying dead in the path and 
a few feet from her lay the child unconscious, 
but breathing. Nearer the house, but to one 
side lay A. J. Jewett dead. In the house a 
fearful sight greeted him. The elder Jewett, 
lying in his blood on the floor with his brains 
oozing from the gashes in his head, but still 
alive. The elder Mrs. Jewett lying on the bed 
all covered with blood and her head and 
face smashed beyond recognization. The table 
set for breakfast, the chairs upturned, the 
chests, trunks, bureaus, cupboards and beds 
broken open, ransacked and contents scattered 
over the floor. The upstairs rooms showing 
llie same ransacking and confusion. 

Mr. Harlow did not tarry long amid these 
scenes of horror and death, but ran and told 
a Mr. Burgess, and a messenger was dispatched 
immediately to Garden City, four or five miles 
away, with news of the awful tragedy. Maj- 
or E. P. Evans was a brother of the elder 
Mrs. Jewett and, with a number of Garden 
City citizens, he repaired at once to the Jew- 
ett home, and the dead and wounded were 
carried to Garden City. The elder Mr. Jewett 
recovered consciousness for a short time the 
next morning. He said there were five or six 
Indians, in Indian costume, with guns and 
bows and arrows. He tried to tell more but 
could not be understood. He died on this 
second day. The child however, recovered 
and is now a resident of Mankato. B. D. Pay 
v/ho was then in the livery business at Man- 
kato, was returning home that morning of 
May 2nd, from Sterling, whither he had taken 
the Goff family. When passing not far from 



the Jewett claim he met J. T. Williams and 
T. M. Pugh ia a buggy and shortly after this 
they were told of the murder. Turning back 
they . overtook Mr. Pay and informed him and 
then Williams having the swiftest horse hur- 
ried ahead to carry the news to Mankato. 
When Mr. Pay got near the north line of Ea- 
pidan he saw, some distance aiiead of him 
in the road, a man walking towards Mankato, 
but he soon disappeared behind a spur of tim- 
ber. As he was descending the hill towards 
John A. Jones he saw the man again walking 
through the woods parallel with the road. 
When Campbell (for it was he) reached John 
A. Jones' cabin, he turned in and asked for 
a glass of water. While Mr. Jones was after 
a fresh supply from a nearby spring, 0. W. 
Dodge rode up to inquire if the Mankato 
Company had just passed, and was telling 
Campbell of the murder, and on Jones return 
was relating the facts to him, also, when Camp- 
bell suddenly started down the road without wait- 
ing for his glass of water. This singular conduct, 
coupled with the fact that he was three- 
fourths Sioux and a stranger aroused Mr. 
Jones' suspicion and he communicated the 
same to Dodge and advised him to arrest him 
and take him to Mankato. Dodge turned 
back and putting spurs to his horse soon over- 
took Campbell and, after asking him a few 
questions, and receiving evasive answers, drew 
his revolver and put him under arrest and 
brought him to Mankato. He was taken to 
the Clifton House, where a crowd soon gath- 
ered and began plying him with questions. 
He claimed his named was Pelky, that he 
was a halfbreed Winnebago and had been 
working for some farmer. Isaac Marks knew 
him well, however, and told the people so. 
That his real name was John Campbell, and 
that his mother lived at Traverse des Sioux, 
and that he was a bad rascal. Campbell de- 
nied all this strenuously, and was such a good 
talker and appeared to be so straight for- 
ward, that the people were inclined to believe 
him at first. He called Mr. Flower and Mr. 
Pay to one side and told them he would show 
them some Indians if they would go with him. 
He was finally lodged in the county jail to 

await developments. Deputy sheriff, John Lor- 
ing, in the excitement, neglected to search him 
when putting him in the cell. 

A few Mankato citizens began investigating 
some of Campbell's stories and found many of 
ithem contradictory and false. That night 
a few persons took him out of the jail, put a 
noose about his neck and tried by torture to 
force confession out of him, but it did not 
avail, as his Indian nature was proof against 
any torture that might be applied. They then 
searched his clothing and found in his pocket 
a lady's white handkerchief, with the corner, 
where the initial of the name would naturally 
be, cut off and the towel still wet and having 
some blood on it. A piece of soap, a pair of 
Chippeway moccasins, a plug of tobacco, an 
old Jackknife and $5.00 in greenbacks were 
also, found. It was also discovered that he had 
two pairs of ladies white wool hose on his feet, 
and a pair of gents shoes that were not the 
best fit. They also discovered that he had on 
a broadcloth coat and a pair of new pants. 
These items of clothing were made into a bun- 
dle and sent that night by the hand of B. D. 
Pay to Garden City to be inspected by the 
relatives of the Jewett family. Mr. Pay stop- 
ped first at the Tyler home at the outlet ol 
Mills Lake. Eva Tyler, sister of the young 
man who had just been murdered with the 
Jewetts, had been working for the Jewetts 
until two days before, and was very familiar 
with their clothing. She described the coat 
before seeing it and her description tallied ex- 
actly, even to a certain small triangular rent 
ou the sleeve, which has been darned, and 
when the coat was shown her she identified 
it at once as the one her uncle, Julius Jewett, 
had brought with him from Boston and given 
to his father, the elder Jewett. She also rec- 
ognized the pants as the same her uncle had 
bought at Slocum's store in Garden City and 
given to his father but which he had never 
^','orn. The stockings she identified as exactly like 
what Grandma Jewett wore, the shoes were 
just like the pair her uncle, A. J. Jewett, wore, 
and the towel exactly like one of the Jewett 
towels, but she remembered no special marks on 
these articles. Mr. Pay then went on to Garden 



City where Mrs. E. P. Evans identified both coat 
and shoes and Mrs. Benjamin Evans recognized 
the coat, shoes, and both pairs of stockings. 
Andrew had been over to their house the Sun- 
day before and she had joked him about wear- 
ing his brother's coat and having such square 
shoes. The pants she, also, identified as the 
new pair bought for Jewett, Sr., and the stock- 
ings belonged to Grandma Jewett, one pair of 
which, Mrs. Evans recognized as having been 
knit by the old lady, when on a visit to her home. 
The clothing having been positively identified as 
belonging to the Jewett family, Mr. Pay returned 
to Mankato by morning with his report. During 
this same night, while Pay was at Garden City, 
Peter Kelley, a frontierman, arrived at Man- 
kato from Eed Wood and said Louis Eoberts, 
the old Sioux trader and steamboat man, had 
sent word that Scott Campbell, a halfbreed 
Sioux trapper, had told him, that his brother, 
John Campbell, was heading a marauding band 
of Indians to steal horses and attack Mankato 
and to be on the lookout for them. Kelly knew 
John Campbell well and was at once taken to 
the jail and immediately identified him. Camp- 
bell now saw he could not hide his identity any 
longer and admitted that he was John Campbell 
and not Pelky, and that Scott Campbell was his 
brother and that his mother lived at Traverse 
des Sioux, near Myrick's store. Next morning 
when he found that the clothing too had been 
identified he told a new story to the effect, that 
he had been taken prisoner by a band of In- 
dians, while out near Pt. Wadsworth, on the 
Dakota line. He said there were nine bands of 
them, and he gave the number and leader of 
each band. That they came down to the Blue 
Earth river the day before. That about noon 
that day near the Jones' ford on the Blue 
Earth a number of Indians, who had been away 
from the rest since the night before, took his 
own clothes away from him and gave him in- 
stead the clothes he had on. That these In- 
dians were now hiding in the woods of the Le 
Sueur back of Mankato. That he had managed 
that afternoon to escape from them, but knew 
nothing of any murder. 

The excitement at Mankato, Garden City 
and all over the county was now intense. The 

identification of the clothing and the contradic- 
tory statements made by Campbell made it cer- 
tain to everybody that he was one of the mur- 
derers. Early Wednesday morning the people 
from Garden City, South Bend and all the 
surrounding country came pouring into Mankato 
until a crowd of 800 men had gathered in the 
vicinity of the Mankato House and the jail and 
it was evident from the temper of the mob that 
there was to be a lynching. Speeches were made 
by Daniel Buck, J. A. Willard, Eev. Adams and 
others on the street corners. Some advised 
strongly against lynching and wanted the law 
to take its course in the matter, others made 
fiery speeches in favor of hanging the murderer 
at once. He had showed no mercy to the 
Jewett family, why should any be shown him? 
These sentiments seemed to please the great ma- 
jority and cries of, "Hang the villain." "Get 
the rope ready" were heard everywhere. There 
was a general impression among the people 
at that time that Gen. Sibley sympathized with 
the Indians, and fears were entertained that, 
when he heard of the arrest of Campbell, he 
would send the military and take him to Pt. 
Snelling or elsewhere and that there was a 
chance of his escaping the gallows like most of 
•the other condemned Indians. Col. B. P. Smith, 
who was in command of the militia of Blue 
Earth County, in a speech declared he would 
not tolerate any lynching. That the accused 
must be regularly tried and convicted of murder 
by a jury before he could be hanged. The 
crowd would brook no delay and were afraid 
Gen. Sibley's soldiers would appear on the 
scene any moment and carry off the prisoner. As 
a compromise it was suggested to give him a 
jury trial at once. A meeting of the citizens 
was called to convene on the Court House block 
immediately after dinner. There was an im- 
mense concourse present. A court was improv- 
ished with S. F. Barney as Judge, J. A. Willard 
prosecuting attorney, and 0. 0. Pitcher attor- 
ney for the defendant. A jury -was chosen 
composed of the following persons: E. K. Bangs, 
Edward Nickerson, N. Woloben, D. S. Law, 
Abel Keene, Wm. Funk, A. Tyler, Chas. Wag- 
ner, A. T. Noble, J. C. Haupt, A. Thompson 
and E. H. Smith. The session was held in the 



open air about where the present county court 
house stands. The prisoner was brought be- 
fore his tribunal and plead "Not Guilty." 
His statement in brief was as follows: 
He knew nothing of the killing of the Jew- 
etts. He had been taken prisoner on the Sioux 
Coteau by hostile Indians and compelled to 
go with them. That they came down and cross- 
ed the Blue Earth River about three miles 
above the ford of J. A. Jones on Monday night 
(May 1), a party of 16 in all, where they camp- 
ed all night. At daybreak on Tuesday (May 
2nd) three Indians started down the river, five 
of them went in the direction of where a mill is 
being built on the river, and the remaining seven 
started in an easterly direction towards the prairie. 
That he got away from them and came down 
the river to Jones' ford, which he reached in 
the afternoon. Before he could get across, 
the seven Indians, who had gone east towards the 
Eapidan prairie, came upon him and gave him 
a pair of pants, a coat and a pair of shoes, 
which they compelled him to put on. It was a 
halfbreed named Henry Roy, who gave him the 
pants and coat and a brother of standing Buf- 
falo the shoes. Roy was the only halfbreed 
among them. There are nine different bands, 
numbering five to sixteen in each band, all 
headed for the Blue Earth river with intent to 
attack Mankato from the rear and to steal 
horses. They made him do all their work and used 
him badly, and Tuesday morning was the first 
opportunity he had to escape. They had been 
eight days on the way. Had not heard of tli& 
murder until Dodge told him of it yesterday. 
He had enlisted in Co. D, 3rd Minn. Infantry, 
and afterwards in Co. A Braekett's Battalion, 
and had served nearly three years in all. Ad- 
mitted he had deserted from the army and was 
trying to get to Traverse des Sioux. He knew 
ihe clothing must have been stolen by the In- 

The prosecution showed the conflicting state- 
ments Campbell had made. The night before 
he had not seen an Indian for over a year, that 
his name was Pelky, and that he was a half 
brother of John Pelky of Winnebago Agency, 
that he had clerked for H. M. Rice and others 
at Long Prairie, and many other statements, 

which were false in every particular. The 
clothes were fully identified as belonging to the 
murdered family. The Judge charged the jury 
directing them to give the prisoner the bene- 
fit of every reasonable doubt. The jury then 
retired and in half an hour brought in a ver- 
dict of guilty, with a recommendation that the 
prisoner be tried again at the regular term of 
the District Court, which would convene in 
about two weeks. Mr. Bangs as foreman of the 
Jury made a strong plea for the recommenda- 

The crowd had the rope with them ready, 
and had waited thus long with much impatience. 
There was, however, a respectable minority, 
who were in favor of the recommendation and 
opposed to lynching. They tried to hold the 
others in check. But the personal friends of 
Mr. Jewett, and especially those who had been 
out and witnessed the horrors of the murder, 
were furious for immediate vengeance and with 
shouts of, "Hang him," from hundreds of 
throats they made a rush for the prisoner and 
began dragging him toward a basswood tree, 
which had a convenient limb, and which stood 
near the southeast corner of the courthouse 
square. The friends of law and order grabbed 
the prisoner, also, to take him to the jail. There 
was a wild tumultuous time for ten or fifteen 
minutes, one party pulling and struggling to 
get Campbell towards the jail and the other 
party dragging and pushing towards the tree 
about 300 feet away. It was a fierce struggle 
between determined men. Guns, revolvers and 
knives were drawn. For a time it looked like 
bloodshed between the two factions. The hang- 
ing party, being the most numerous, were finally 
successful, and seeing that resistance was useless 
tlie law and order party desisted for fear of a 
worse riot. A wagon belonging to Geo. Lam- 
berton of Garden City stood near by. This 
was run under the tree, the prisoner hustled in- 
to it, a rope adjusted about his neck, the other 
end tied to the limb above, and the wagon 
pulled away. In their haste they had forgotten 
to tie the culprits hands and he grabbed the 
rope above his head and began to call lustily 
for a priest. The wagon was pushed back un- 
der the poor wretch. Father Sommereisen el- 



bowed his way through the crowd and climbing 
into the wagon requested a few minutes to talk 
and pray with liim. This was reluctantly 
granted and the good father employed the mo- 
ments given him in prayer and religious con- 
verse with the doomed man^, speaking with him 
in French. His hands having been securely 
pinioned and the time having expired, the wagon 
was again pulled from under the victim and he 
was hanged. 

In about fifteen or twenty minutes Dr. Zeno- 
polsky pronounced him dead. Father Sommerei- 
sen took the body, and in accordance vrith 
Campbeirs last request, sent it to his mother at 
Traverse des Sioux for burial. 

The murderer had also told the worthy fath- 
er where to find a roll of money, which he had 
hid in the bedding of his bunk at the jail. About 
$470 was found, evidently the booty for which 
he had committed the awful murders, and which 
finally brought him to his terrible doom. 

This was the first and only instance of lynch- 
ing in Blue Earth County, and that there 
was great provocation, which in those days of 
blood, seemed to demand speedy punishment for 
so heinous and horrible a crime, must be ad- 
mitted. Yet the ends of justice would have been 
much better served if the recommendation of 
the jury had been heeded. 

While these scenes were being enacted on the 
Court House square quite a difEerent scene was 
transpiring in the Presbyterian church just one 
block away. Here on this very day a synod of 
that denomination was being held, and in it 
another halfbreed Sioux was being ordained to 
the work of the Christian ministry. This was 
Eev. John B. Eenville, who from that day to 
this has been a faithful, consistent follower of 
the Christ, and an earnest able preacher of his 
gospel. At the opening of the synod, Monday 
night, Dr. Williamson in his sermon had dwelt 
at some length upon the wrongs done to the 
Indians. His words were true and well meant, 
but, as it happened, inopportune. The next 
morning occurred the Jewett murders, followed by 
the arrest of John Campbell, and on Wednesday 
the excited populace thronged the streets of Man- 
kato thirsting for vengeance. Garbled extracts 
of the sermon were talked over by the rabble 

and false reports circulated to the effect that the 
Indians, who murdered the Jewetts, had come 
down from Dakota with Dr. Williamson. All 
manner of wild and lying rumors about the good 
old man were told upon the street, and 
the mob were beginning to cry that they 
would hang Dr. Williamson, too. Before din- 
ner a committee of three prominent Mankato 
citizens went to the church, and calling the good 
old missionary to the door, explained the sit- 
uation, and advised him to leave town at once. 
The grapd, innocent, kind hearted old doc- 
tor thanked the committee, left the meeting 
and mounting his pony hurried to his home at 
St. Peter. 

On the afternoon of the day of the murder 
Major Evans organized a mounted posse at 
Garden City to pursue the Indians. Joseph Dil- 
ley, G«o. Heaton and Mr. Travis were members. 
They found where they had crossed the Maple 
liver, and where they had cooked one or two 
meals. An Indian blanket, a buffalo roTae, and 
some flour were found on the trail. The posse 
camped that Tuesday night on the trail. The 
next morning they found where the Indians had 
crossed the Le Sueur and two or three of them 
had gone down the river and the others up the 
stream. So rugged and wild was the country 
and so dense the forest, brush and vines that 
further pursuit on horseback was impossible be- 
sides being foolhardy, and the company returned 
home. Mr. Stratton and other settlers of Eapi- 
dan engaged to some extent, also, in the search. 
Within an hour after the news reached Mankato 
on Tuesday afternoon, Maj. Clark started for 
Garden City with twenty mounted men, and 
picketed the road from the village to Eush 
Lake all night. Militia men from South Bend, 
formed a line of pickets from Le Huillier to 
join Maj. Clark's line. Lieut. Mason, in com- 
mand of the Vernon Militia, established a pick- 
et line from Vernon Center to Garden City. 
The Militia of Sterling and Mapleton formed 
a long skirmish line and combed the timber 
and brush bordering the Maple river almost 
to its mouth. 

Saturday, May 6th, a detachment of Company 
F, 2nd Cavalry in command of a sergeant, went 
from Mankato in pursuit of the Indians. They 


^ ^ ST.CLAIR.GOODTHUNDeR'"'«>BeLLei'ietD-- 1 



followed the trail from near the Jewett home 
across the Maple and a strip of Prairie between 
it and the Mouth of the Big Cobb. The remains 
of a cow and sheep were discovered which the 
Indians had killed for food. The soldiers camp- 
ed on the trail Saturday night, and Sunday 
morning they discovered the Indian camp 
on the Le Sueur river about two miles 
from their own. Continuing the pursuit up 
tJie Le Sueur through the rough land and dense 
forest and brush one soldier, named James Jol- 
ley, who was a little in advance of his com- 
rades, saw an Indian, who shot at him. He re- 
turned the fire and the Indian apparently fell. 
When the spot was reached a large pack of 
cooked meat was found but no Indian. He pro- 
bably had merely dropped to the ground to 
avoid the bullets and sneaked away. The trail 
■H'as followed about two hours up along the river 
bank. When searching for it in a bend of the 
river, the soldiers were fired upon from the op- 
posite bank. They returned the fire and saw 
a number of Indians skulking behind trees. 
The Indians fired another volley and this time 
a ball hit James JoUey in the left breast, just 
above the heart. He fell from his horse and 
raising himself partly from the ground, said, 
"Boys, I am shot," and then fell back dead. 
The soldiers now withdrew from their exposed 
position to a nearby thicket and the Indians 
fled further up the river. The death of their 
comrade discouraged the soldiers and, picking 
up his body, they strapped it upon his horse and 
brought it back to Mankato. 

This same day a company of volunteers from 
Mankato and Winnebago Agency were picketed 
along the Mankato and Agency Eoad. They 
heard the firing down the Le Sueur between the 
soldiers and Indians and knew from the sound 
that the latter were coming towards them. Some 
of them got scared and left, and the savages passed 
up through their line. Just across the Le Sueur 
on the Agency road was the cabin of A. Mc- 
Carthy. Mrs. George Bennett with her ten 
year old son, Frank York, had brought some 
food to the McCarthy house for the volunteers. 
B. D. Pay had been to the Agency with a 
message from Judge Buck, and on his return 
wanted to know where a certain squad, which 

had been stationed near ]\leCarthy's place, was. 
The York boy had mounted one of the horses 
belonging to the men and was riding it around. 
He offered to guide jMr. Pay and started along 
a path, which led east of the house through 
some brush to a tract of lo-w land. When descend- 
ing a short hill to this valley, they saw a man, 
dressed like a white man, walking through 
some brush and, mistaking him for one of the 
militia. Mr. Pay hollered to him to come up 
there. The man answered in English with a 
French accent and as he turned Pay saw 
he was an Indian or halfbreed and wheeled his 
horse round and galloped back. The Indians 
fired a volley at them and the boy's horse fell 
dead. The boy, after falling with his horse, 
jumped up and ran back some twenty rods to 
the house and at the door fell into his moth- 
er's arms and expired. A charge of buckshot 
had passed through his body. 

It was now getting towards dusk and further 
pursuit was abandoned that night. The Indians, 
disappointed and mystified by the failure of 
Campbell to return and, knowing that their 
biding place had been discovered, concluded it 
was high time for them to escape. To this end 
tliey tried on Monday night. May 8th, to secure 
some horses. 

On this evening H. C. Howard, who resided 
on his farm on the south bank of Loon 
Lake, took his family to Garden City, where 
there was a log fort for safety. A young man 
named Eobert Johnson, from Brooklyn, N. Y., 
was staying with the Howards at this time. He 
came with them to Garden City, but not being 
able to find any place to sleep, except on the 
fioor, he concluded to return to the Howard 
home, as he did not think there were any In- 
dians around any way. When he reached the 
house he was surprised to find the cattle running 
loose in the door yard. He, also, heard the 
colt in the stable call for its mother, who an- 
swered it from down by the lake shore. Some- 
thing was wrong, for everything had been 
safely shut up when they left. It was a moon- 
light night. He went into the house and got 
his gun, and then went to the barn and let the 
colt out. It seemed greatly excited and scared 
and kept close to Johnson, as he walked through 



the grove toward where he could still hear 
the mare whining for the colt. When he got to 
a little rise of ground, where he could see down 
tlie lake front, he saw a man trying to lead tlin 
mare over a ditch or small creek. She was un- 
willing to go and pulling back. Without realizing 
ills danger Johnson walked straight toward the 
man and shouted to him. The Indian (for such 
he proved to be,) seeing Johnson's gun, dropped 
the halter and ran behind an oak tree about fifty 
feet away. Johnson jumped on the mare and, 
as he started back, he glanced behind toward 
the tree and saw the barrel of a gun, pointed 
toward him, glisten in the moonlight. He rais- 
ed his own gun instantly, and the Indian and 
he fired simultaneously. Two or three other 
Indians, who were hiding behind trees, also 
fired at him, and one bullet struck his hand. 
Mounted on the frightened mare it did not take 
Johnson long to get beyond the reach of the 
Indian guns, nor did he stop until in Garden 
C'ity. It was now midnight, but the news he 
brought soon woke up the people and there was 
much excitement. As there were two or three fam- 
ilies staying at their homes that night in the vi- 
cinity of Loon Lake, it was feared they might be 
murdered. A mounted posse composed of H. C. 
Howard, E. P. Evans and three or four others 
volunteered to go to their rescue at once. They 
found them safe and unmolested, the Indians 
having retreated from the Howard farm east- 
ward to the Blue Earth river timber. The same 
night the Indians attempted to steal the horses 
of Carl Just in Rapidan, but before they reached 
the barn their presence was discovered by two 
fierce dogs. The appearance of Mr. Just with 
a gun together with the angi-y barking of the 
dogs finally scared the tliieves away. This 
same Monday, Major Clark, with a large posse 
from Mankato, had been scouring the woods 
of the Le Sueur in the vicinity of where Mr. 
JoUey was shot. The Indians saw that mat- 
ters were getting critical and that the sooner 
they got away the better for them. Two of 
them managed to steal a couple of horses in 
Shelby township and by daybreak Tuesday they 
started across the vast prairies for their fast- 
nesses in the far off Turtle Mountains. They 

had no fear but they could elude the white sol- 
diers, stationed in the frontier forts and there- 
fore journeyed leisurely. But since they came 
down to the settlements, something had hap- 
pened that they did not know about. For three 
years it had been clearly demonstrated, that a 
line of forts along the frontier with a squad of 
soldiers, galloping on their horses back and 
forth between them, about once a day, was no 
protection whatever from Indian raids. The 
wily savages could crawl undetected under the 
very shadow of these fortresses. 

Maj. Joseph R. Brown, Gen. Sibley and Maj. 
Robert D. Rose had in their charge a large 
number of friendly Indians and halfbreeds and 
appreciated fully their value as scouts in hunting 
other Indians. After repeated recommendations, 
the government at last gave heed to their advice. 
Accordingly in the Fall of 1864 Major Brown 
was authorized to enlist as many of these In- 
dians as he saw fit into the government service. 
Joseph Renville was appointed chief of scouts 
under Maj. Brown, and was to make monthly 
reports to Maj. R. D. Rose, a commandant of 
Ft. Wadsworth. In the spring of 1865 a 
number of lines of these scouts were put along 
the frontier. One of these extended from the 
Shyenne River to the James river and had seven 
stations in it, each station having from twelve 
to fifteen scouts in it. At one of these stations, 
was a scout, who was thereafter called; "One 
Armed Jim," and the incident which gave him 
the name is connected with the Jewett murder. 
About the 17th, of May, 1865, Jim mountd his 
pony and started on a scouting trip after din- 
ner. It was a bright clear day with a gentle 
breeze from the south east. He had only gone 
n mile or two from camp, when his pony began 
to act strangely. Jim at once concluded that 
there must be literally, "something in the wind." 
Tethering his pony behind a small knoll and 
plaiting a wreath of grass for his own head, he 
crawled cautiously to the top and scanned the 
prairies carefully for a time toward the south 
east as far as the eye could reach. He soon 
caught sight of small herds of buffalo moving 
westward, having evidently been disturbed by 
the scent of human beings to the eastward. It 
was th.e smell of the buffalo, which had dis- 


turbed his pony. But what interested Jim was, the young bucks of the warlike Dakotahs, sud- 

who had disturbed the bufEalo. So he kept his denly became very unpopular and soon ceased 

eye fixed in the direction they were moving from, altogether and forever. 

At last he caught sight of five horsemen ap- On May 17, 1865, the Board of County Com- 

proaching along the distant foot hills. He con- missioners of Blue Earth county passed a reso- 

cluded they must be hostiles returning from a lution offering a bounty of $200 for every hos- 

raid and, crawling cautiously back from the tile Indian scalp taken in Blue Earth County, 

top of the knoll, he took his little pocket mir- which barbaroiis resolution continued in force 

ror and made signals with it in the sun to his until March 19, IST?, when it was repealed. 

Indian comrades. It was not long before three The county, however, was never called upon to 

of them responded. The four selected a spot make good its offer. 

where the trail, after crossing a small swale, The killing of his relatives and the failure 
iiseended out of it through a small gully and of the militia and military to apprehend the 
concealed themselves in some grass, which grew murderers, though they skulked around the 
a trifle taller than elsewhere in an angle of the neighborhood for a full week, induced Maj. E. 
gully. No one knows better than an Indian p_ Evans to push his scheme of getting blood- 
how to form a good ambush. With a fillet of hounds from the south, with which to hunt 
grass on his head and a string of grass down his prowling Indians. On May 27, the representa- 
back, he can lay on the prairie and be so con- tives of four counties met at Mankato to dis- 
formed in color and appearance to his surround- cuss the project and take action with reference 
ings, that one might pass within a few feet and to it. Those present were Andrew Hanna of 
never suspect his presence. In due time the five Blue Earth County, John Castor of Brown, Mr. 
hostiles came without a suspicion of danger di- Furber of Watonwan and A. L. Ward of Mar- 
rectly into the trap laid for them. Instantly at tin. It was concluded to procure bloodhounds 
a given signal the four scouts Jumped to their and eacli county appropriated for the purpose 
feet with a war whoop and fired at close range, the following amounts: 
Three of the hostiles fell dead and the other 

, T -, ., „ 1 ,, ■ , Blue Earth .$500.00 

two were wounded and thrown by their horses, ixartin 400. 00 

One of these two was quickly dispatched, but Brown 200.00 

i.1 , , .,, T- 11-11 1 -1 T Wa.tomvan 200 . 00 

the otlier, with Jim at his heels, ran like a deer 

to a pony, which had been tethered by one of E. P. Evans was appointed an agent to go 
the scouts near by. As the hostile was mount- south and buy the dogs. He started on June 
ing the pony Jim fired at him, but in the excite- 1st, and at St. Paul Gov. Miller gave him $100 
ment he had overloaded his gun and it exploded, for the enterprise, and "The Press" $.50, and 
blowing off his hand and shattering his arm so it a few other prominent citizens contributed like 
liad to be amputated. The mare and colt belonging amounts. The Major spent three months and 
toMr. Jewett were recovered here and a lot of traveled 1500 miles, but could not find a single 
silverware bearing Jewett's initials and some cloth- bloodhound. He finally managed to get thir- 
ing which had been stolen from the Jewett teen fox hounds, with a little blood hound blood 
™™^- in two or three of them. Six of these he sent 
So of the six Indians implicated in the Jew- by Capt. Potter from Tennessee in July and the 
ett murder, five met their just doom, and the other seven he brought with him in August to 
sixth would have done so were it not for the Mankato. The major filed an itemized state- 
bursting of Jim's gun. During the spring and ment of the receipts and disbursements con- 
summer of 1865 these friendly Indian scouts nected with the matter which is as follows: 
exterminated every party of hostile Sioux, which 

ventured near their lines, and raiding of the RECEIPTS, 

white settlements for murder and plunder, which From Blue Earth County $480.00 

■ , ,1 J! J ii, ■ i. i! From Martin County 200.00 

■■.or three years formed the mam amusement of y^^^ Watonwan County 150.00 


Prom friends in St. Paul 386.00 the Indian scouts and blood hounds, three mili- 

From friends in Boston 10.00 , ,. ,,,.,11,1 ^^n r -.r 

tary lines were established by the loth of May 

Total $1,226.00 1865, for the defense of the frontier. The first 

DISBURSEMENTS. ^™^ extended from Eedwood by Heron Lake 

Paid for 13 dogs $325.00 t° Spirit Lake and had seven garrisons in it 

Paid traveling expenses of agent and trans- from ten to sixteen miles apart with 134 mount- 

portation and care of does 522.28 ^ , . t , -t ± n n ■ mi t t 

Paid salary of agent at $2 per day, 100 days 200.00 ed soldiers distributed therein. The second hne 

Paid expense of keeping dogs in Manltato be- extended from- Ft. Eidgely by Leavenworth, 

Money on 'n^d............................. 155!47 ^^^.ke Hanska, Madelia to Jackson, having 

eight garrisons and 146 soldiers distributed 

' ■ therein. The third line was as follows : 
The dogs were divided six to Blue Earth M'ankato 40 soldiers. Loon Lake 11 sol- 
County, three to Martin and three to Watonwan diers, Garden City 20 soldiers, Vernon Cen- 
Counties. The other dog had escaped the first ter 21 soldiers, Winnebago City 21 soldiers, 
night they arrived in Mankato. The six dogs making five garrisons and 113 soldiers distrib- 
apportioned to Blue Earth County were kept uted therein. Then fifty mounted minute men 
at the expense of the county for a time by a were stationed in groups of five or six between 
Mr. E^Tggles of Vernon Center, who was a the second and third lines. In all 443 soldiers 
returned soldier and pretended to understand were stationed as guards in southwestern Minne- 
the management of that kind of dogs. They sota. Beside all this the militia companies in 
were tested in tracking a white man on foot, every town were kept on duty more or less, 
and again on horse back, and it is claimed the But as we have stated before, the raid led by 
test was successful. Then early in September John Campbell was the best ever made into 
there was a big scare over a report, that a party Blue Earth County. The Sioux war was now 
of Indians had been seen in the timber in practically over as also was the great Eebellion. 
Eapidan and Decoria and Capt. Davy started The year 1865, saw the end of both. For four 
after the enemy with a squad of men and the years the people of Blue Earth county had been 
hounds full tilt, but the band of painted sav- so absorbed in the two wars, and especially in 
ages with guns and tomahawks proved to be two the Indian war, that they had had no time to 
or three friendly halfbreeds digging ginseng attend to the arts of peace. Every man and 
with hoes. In fact, the Indian scouts on the boy, who was not carrying a gun on southern 
frontier under Major Brown and Eose never battlefields, was carrying one at home. For 
permitted the dogs a smell of a genuine hostile three years our people had been busy either 
SiouX. The hounds escaped one after another running away from the Indians or chasing 
and soon like the Indians disappeared from after them. The farm and the shop were de- 
Blue Earth County. serted for the camp and the fort. The people 
The Jewett murders stirred up all sorts of were learning war and not trade and the mus- 
measures for the protection of the settlers. Besides ket had taken the place of the plow. 





With the year 1866, a new period begins in W. Barney & Co., and the Mankato Linseed 

the history of our county. Secession and sav- Oil Works, by Anthony Phillips, 

agery are gone, peace, progress and prosperity Two railroads started this year in earnest 

take their place. The sound of the war whoop, towards Mankato. The Minnesota A^alley Rail- 

of fife and drum, of the firing of guns, of mourn- ,vay, built from Mendota to Shakopee. Its first 

ing for the slain have ceased, the sight of locomotive was named "Mankato." The Winona 

mutilated corpses, fleeing families, of marching and St. Peter Railway built as far as Kasson. 

soldiers, and of building forts have disappeared, Immigration into our county was very large 

and new sounds and scenes take their place, ^.j^jg yg^j,_ During June and July alone over 

It is to these new sounds and scenes that the g^gOO acres of land belonging to' the Winne- 

eoncluding chapters of this history will be de- ^^^^ Agency in Blue Earth County were sold 

^oted. ^^ tlje St. Peter land office. 

On May 35, 1865 the "Mankato Union" was ^^^ ^^^ returning from the Civil 

sold by Charles H. Slocum to Wm. B. Griswold, ^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^^^ ^^^^^^^ 

who until recently had been editor of the Val- , ,• 4. j i i ■ j; 

■' homes, came crowding westward, looking tor 

ley Herald at Chaska. He was a man of fair , . n -m tti j.i j. • i -j. i_ 

. . claims and Blue Earth county received its share, 

abihty as a writer, but not brilliant or very ener- ^^ ^^^^^^ gg^^^ ^^^^ ^.^^^^^ ^^ ^^^^^^^^ 

getic or popular. His paper was on the whole ,j-i,i.i j.- n- f j. 

° '^ '^ '^ ^ tendered to the returning soldiers of our county 

fully as good, if not a little better, than the , . ,• n 1, 1, m, v, + 

■' o > J ^ ^jg reception and barbecue, ihere were about 

average country newspaper. In neatness of ^^^^^ ^^^^j^ p^^^^^^ ^^^ g^^^^^^ Wilkinson 

pnnting it was much above the average, for ^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^^^-^^^ 

Geo. W. Neff, now of the "Lake Crystal Union" j^ ^^^ ^^ ^^ .^^^^^^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^^. 

who had special charge of this department was ^^^ ^^ ^^^^.^^^ furnished by each township in 

a printer of rare excellence. ^^^ ^^^^^^ f^,^ ^^^ (..^.j ^^^^ ^^-^^ ^^^^ ^^ 

In June of this year H. C. Capwell & Co., fQiiQ„g 
began operating their flour mill at Garden City. 

Mr. Hilton, also started, his flour mill at the Butternut Valley 22 

Agency, which he had bought the year before. ^^^^^?° ^^ 

The same month Dr. Lewis and Basil More- Rapidan, Mankato, McPherson 247 

land began operating their saw mill on the Cobb garden City 64 

° r a Jamestown 18 

river. The same summer J. S. Burgess and Judson 31 

Co., built a saw mill on the east line of Man- LeEay 15 

kfflto Township, and Mason & Reed rebuilt the Medo 1 

old mill which Col. Smith and Haynes had |^^P],^*^°° f^ 

erected in 1857, at Vernon, but which had been South Bend..........................!........... 44 

burnt in May of this year. Sterling 43 

.,,,,•',, ■ 3 .■ J. . , Vernon Center 48 

At Mankato two industries of importance 

are started namely: The Novelty works, by C. Total 7ar 




The crops all over the county were quite good 
this year except in Butternut Valley and vicin- 
ity, where the grasshoppers swept everything 
before them. 

On Sept. 6, 1865, Town 105, range 29, which 
had heretofore been attached to Shelby, and had 
been known first as Otsego, and afterwards as 
Willow Creek, was created into a new town 
christened "Pleasant Mound," and the first town 
meeting was held at the house of H. G. Long- 
worth. On the same 6th day of September, town 
107, range 29, which had heretofore been 
attached to Ceresco and known as Fox Lake, 
was by the county board made into a new town 
under the name of Lincoln, the first town meet- 
ing being held at the home of John W. Trask. 

On Sept. 7th the County Commissioners elect- 
ed E. D. B. Porter as Superintendent of the 
country schools for the year commencing Jan. 
1, 1866. On the same date (Sept. 7th) the 
new Presbyterian church at Mankato was dedi- 
. cated. 

At the fall election this year the' main inter- 
est centered about the fight between Col. B. P. 
Smith and Eobert Eoberts for the office of 
Eegister of Deeds. Both had been candidates 
before the Eepublican County convention, but 
Col. Smith had finally won after a very bitter 
fight. Mr. Eoberts and his friends had their 
Welsh blood up and refused to abide by the 
decision of their party. He sought and obtained 
the Democratic nomination for the office and 
there was another hot fight. The Welsh were 
Eepublicans almost to a man, but the most of 
them bolted their county ticket this fall and 
the Democratic party, though in the minority, 
was able to elect a number of its candidates for 
county offices, but Col. Smith because of his 
^.eat popularity came out victorious by a small 

In October 1865, the postal money order sys- 
tem was first inaugurated in Blue Earth County 
at Mankato. On Dec. 11th and 12th, 1865 
occurred a severe blizzard in which Thos. Lame- 
raux, an old settler of South Bend, and sev- 
eral others lost their lives on the western prai- 
rie. There was deep snow and much cold 
weather all winter, and many people froze to 
death, but not in Blue Earth County. 

In January, 1866, the weekly mail service 
from Mankato to Few Ulm was increased to a 
tri-weekly, for which Lewis D. Lewis was con- 
tractor. There had been for a long time a tri- 
weekly mail to South Bend, Garden City, Ver- 
non and Shelbyville, a weekly mail to Mapleton, 
Sterling and Liberty, also, to Cobb Eiver, 
Watonwan, Willow Creek and Pleasant Mound. 
There were, also, two daily mails to Mankato; 
one from St. Paul and the other from Winona 
by way of Winnebago Agency. 

In December, 1865, James P. Gail laid out 
the townsite of Lowell upon the Blue Earth 
Eiver, in section thirteen of Garden City town- 
ship. Mr. Dustin during the winter built a 
large flour mill at this point, which was oper- 
ated for several years. Nothing further came of 
the townsite. Geo. Marsh, also, completed a 
flour mill at Shelbyville. 

During the spring and summer the Eed Jacket 
mill was erected on the Le Sueur by Har- 
rington • and Scott, and soon became one of the 
most noted flour mills in the county. The same 
season Hegele & Henline added a grist mill 
department to their steam saw mill in Man- 
kato, and the old stone windmill was built and 
operated by Phillip Touner in South Bend. 
These mills as a rule gave about thirty pounds 
of flour, five pounds of shorts, and eight pounds 
of bran for a bushel of wheat. 

On March 13th, 1866, town 106, range 26, 
which heretofore had been called Winneshiek, 
was organized under the names of Beauford 
on petition of Chas. MacBeth and twenty-six 
others. The first town meeting was appointed 
to be held at the house of John Prey. On May 
29th the town of Lyra was created on petition 
of M. L. Plumb and twenty-six others, the first 
town meeting to be at the house of L. Schroeder 
on the first Tuesday in July, but which was 
not held until September 22nd following. 

A big freshet early in April carried away a 
number of bridges and mill dams over the 
county, as was usual when there was deep snow 
the previous winter. The wooden bridges and dams 
of those early days could not stand much of 
a flood. 

On April 7, 1866 the matter of the perma- 
nent location of its fair grounds was deter- 



mined by the Blue Earth Cmmty Fair Asso- 
ciation in favor of Garden City. Mankato made 
a strong bid for it and offered a bonus of 
$1,174; while all Garden City could raise as 
bonus was $818, but a twenty acre site could 
be bought at Garden City for $550 wiiile the 
same quantity of land at Mankato cost $1,000. 
About the 1st of May, 1866 President Johnson 
remitted the sentences of death in the case of 
the 173 Sioux Indians, who were yet alive at 
Davenport prison and they were turned over to 
the care of the Sioux Agency in Nebraska. 

On the 31st of May General W. T. Sherman 
arrived at Madelia on his way to Ft. Eidgely 
and an effort was made to have him visit Man- 
kato but he was unable to do so. 

The buffalo gnats were a plague in the land 
this year and some young stock were killed by 

The Legislature in the session of 1865 had 
authorized Mankato to issue $10,000 and Gar- 
den City $3,000 in bonds for the building of 
school houses in their respective districts, which 
bonds were voted and contracts let for the build- 
ings in the summer of 1866. 

Boardman and Wampler had the contract 
for the Mankato building, which is the original 
part of the present Union building. Until this 
structure was completed our county seat had no 
public school building, except the little log struc- 
ture of 1855, which had long been too small and 
dilapidated for use. So the school had been kept 
in halls, vacant stores, and any old place that 
could be got. The Garden City school house 
was built at a cost of $4,000.00. 

The Legislature of 1866, through the efforts 
of Daniel Buck, then State Senator from our 
county, passed an act locating the second state 
Formal school at Mankato, on condition that the 
village raised $5,000.00 as a bonus to be used 
in purchasing of a site and otherwise. On 
September 14th, 1866, a mass meeting met at 
the city hall in Mankato to devise means for 
raising the money, and a soliciting committee 
w-as appointed as follows: John J. Shaubut, 
John F. Meagher, H. Dubuison, J. Wm. Hoerr, 
David Wilcox, E. D. B. Porter, John E. Beatty, 
James Shoemaker, E. J. Marvin, John F. Hall, 
Eev. J. E. Conrad, and Daniel Buck. 

At Manliato the M. E., Baptist, Episcopal, 
and one or two other denominations built church 
buildings, this year. Mead and Lovejoy, who 
had been manufacturing cement brick at Gar- 
den City, started the same industry at Man- 
kato, but only made enough for the residence 
of Judge James Brown. 

Navigation was good for a short period in the 
spring, and then the river became too low for 
any but flat boats. Among the boats engaged 
in the trade of our county this year were: 
The Chippeway Falls, Mollie Mohler, Julia, 
Otter, Stella Whipple, Albany, Pioneer, Pearl, 
Cutter, Enterprise, Mankato, Hudson and. Flora. 
J\ corps of United States engineers, under Capt. 
Davis, were employed this year in making sur- 
veys of the Minnesota river, with reference to 
its improvement. It demonstrated among other 
things that in the distance from the mouth 
of the Yellow Medicine to mouth of the Blue 
Earth river a distance of seventy miles, the 
fall was twenty-eight feet. A survey of the 
Blue Earth showed an average fall of five feet 
to the mile. 

Progress was made this year towards road 
improvements in the vicinity of Mankato. 
Through the efforts of James Shoemaker the 
Glenwood ravine road was laid out and several 
hundred of dollars subscribed and expended 
in its improvement. Seven hundred and fifty 
dollars was expended in grading the Belgrade 
hill. The road up the Thompson ravine was, 
also, opened and graded. 

The year 1866, closed with a very belligerent 
feeling between Mankato and New Ulm, caused 
by the lynching on December 86th in rather a 
barbarous fashion of two Mankato citizens by 
a mob at New Ulm. The victims were Campbell 
and Liscom, two trappers, who in a saloon row 
killed a prominent resident of New Ulm. An 
excited mob soon gathered and took both men 
from the Jail, hung them and threw their bodies 
into the river, through a hole in the ice. For 
a few days the mob had full control of the usu- 
ally quiet German town and defied arrest, and 
things looked warlike. A number of deter- 
mined men under Capt. L. N. Holmes of Man- 
kato and the sheriff finally went to New Ulm 
and found and brought away the bodies of the 



two men and obtained such, evidence as could 
be got regarding the affair. Arrests were made 
and the trials dragged in the courts for some years. 
One John Gut was convicted and sentenced to 
be hung, but, after a long legal battle, his 
sentence was commuted to imprisonment. The 
other ring leaders defaulted their bail and left 
the country. 

With the first of January, 1867, let us take 
a birdseye view of the county, as it appeared 
to two eye witnesses at the time. First comes 
Mankato with a population of about 3,300. It 
had about 305 frame, twenty-two brick, and 
four stone dwellings, fifteen dry goods stores, 
fifteen grocery stores, three hardware stores, 
five harness shops, four jewelry stores, two bak- 
eries, two printing offices, twenty-two restau- 
rants, eight cabinet shops, two chair shops, four 
^''agon shops, four carriage shops, eight black- 
smith shops, two paint shops, two millinery 
shops, four cooper shops, one gun shop, two bar- 
ber shops, three grist mills, three saw mills, one 
fanning mill factory, one pump factory, two 
turning mills, one oil mill, four livery barns, two 
photograph galleries, five schools, two banks, six 
boot and shoe stores, ten doctors, seven law 
offices, five insurance offices, three drug stores, 
one bookstore, four butcher shops, eight hotels, 
one express office, twelve warehouses, one fire 
engine house, one hook and ladder company, one 
hose house, six churches, one pottery, one foun- 
dry, one barrel factory, one brewery, four brick 
yards, two lime kilns and one stone quarry. 

One thousand one hundred and fifty tons of 
freight had been received during the year 1866, 
and 4,700 tons exported. J. J. Thompson & Co. 
had a line of teams carrying every day to and from 
the railroad terminals. One hundred ninety-three 
reapers and mowers and nineteen threshers were 
sold at Mankato during the year. The fur 
trade footed up to over $15,000.00 and the mer- 
cantile trade to over $600,000.00. There were 
three daily mails, one to St. Paul, one to Winona 
and one to Blue Earth City, one tri-weekly mail 
to "New Ulm and one semi-weekly to Madelia. 
The lower story of the Union School building 
had been completed, five teachers were employed, 
and about 300 pupils attended the public schools. 
The Catholic school, in charge of the Sisters 

of ISTotre Dam, had four teachers and about 
180 pupils, and there were a number of private 
schools. Mankato Township had a large grist 
mill at Eed Jacket, on the Le Sueur, and three 
sawmills, one at Hoosier Lake, one at Tivoli 
and one owned by Burgess & Co. South Bend 
village had five general stores, two hotels, one 
?aw and grist mill combined, one saw mill, 
one shoemaker, one blacksmith, and one cooper 
shop. There were two church buildings in the 
village and another in the township. 

At Garden City village were: Garden City 
Mills, Harrington and Loveland proprietors, ca- 
pacity 450 bushels of wheat per day, new ware- 
house, which will hold 15,000 bushels, the Yan- 
kee mills, Quayle & Friend proprietors, 250 
bushels' capacity, a planing mill, shingle mill and 
saw mill attached, one steam saw mill, owned 
by L. E. Potter & Bros., with capacity of 10,000 
feet of lumber per day, three general stores, one 
drug store, one hotel, one real estate office, one 
millinery, one harness shop, one shoe shop, two 
wagon shops, two blacksmith shops, one cooper 
shop, one livery stable, four doctors, one dentist, 
a public school with 150 scholars, and Baptist, 
Presbyterian and M. E. Churches holding regu- 
lar services. 

Watonwan in the same township had the But- 
terfield Mills, and New Lowell had the Dustin 
Mill, with capacity of 350 bushels of wheat per 
day, a carding mill was also attached. Vernon 
contained a steam mill, hotel, church and three 
stores. Shelbyville, had a hotel, saw mill, three 
stores, church and blacksmith shop. Shelby. 
Center had a mill and a store. Sterling Town- 
ship had one store and two mills, a church and 
five school houses. Mapleton had three school 
houses, a store kept by Eobert Taylor, and a Free 
Will Baptist church organization. Lyra had 
one saw mill in operation and two other mills 
being built. Eapidan contained the large new 
flour mill of S. Kenworthy & Co., the saw 
mill of Eew & Heaton, and Lucius Dyer was 
building a saw mill on the Maple and, also, 
Simons & Mickle. -Judson had two stores, the Good- 
year nursery and a church. Butternut Valley con- 
tained a hotel, a church building and two church 
organizations, and two school houses. Hilton, 
(now St. Clair) had three stores, a hotel, 



a saw and grist mill and a blaeksinith shop. Ad- 
joining it was Winnebago Agency, where the 
agenfs house had been converted into a hotel 
by J. C. Truman, and Henry Poster had a large 
store and postoffice. McPherson Township had 
another sawmill. Every town in the county 
had school houses and was dotted over with 
farm houses, of which the great majority were 
log buildings. Everywhere during the summer 
season the breaking plow ' was in evidence and 
the vast wheat fields were growing rapidly larger 
every year. 

The winters of 'this period were long and cold 
and the log houses and the clothing were none too 
warm. Few could afford fur overcoats or over- 
shoes, or an extra stove in the house. The 
shawls and Indian blankets, which were the 
fashion with the men in the antibellum win- 
ters had given place to the blue soldier overcoats 
with the cape and brass buttons stamped with 
the hilarious eagle. 

The great war debt was heavy on the people and 
the revenue collector was abroad in the land. 
Every deed, note, mortgage, contract and even 
match box and broom and every common house- 
hold utensil and store commodity must bear the 
government stamp. The lawyers, doctors, den- 
tists, etc., have to procure licenses. 

Then there were the spelling schools, the de- 
bating societies, the revival meetings and the go- 
ing to the post office. 

The winter of 1866-7 was very severe with 
much snow, and there was, a big spring freshet, 
with the usual damage to bridges and dams, 
especially on the Watonwan. On Fel). 12tb, 
1867, the Legislature authorized the County 
Commissioners of our county to issue $10,000.00 
in bonds to build a county jail, but provided 
that the matter of the location of the jail be 
submitted the voters of the county at the elec- 
tion to be held April 2, 1867. This provision was 
inserted at the instigation of the citizens ot 
Garden City, •\\-ho still cherished hopes of se- 
curing the county seat. The vote resulted in 1655 
votes for Manl^ato and 783 for Garden City. The 
contract was let soon thereafter to Lewis J. 
Lewis and the building erected during the sum- 
mer and fall. The jail part was of stone and 

the sheriff's rooms and courtroom above of 

On ilay 8th, 1867 the town of Butternut 
^ 'alley was divided, all that portion located in 
Township 109 being, on petition of Geo. Owens 
and forty-three others, created into a new town, 
under the name of Cambria. The first town 
meeting was held as appointed on June 3rd, 
1867, at school house in district Wo. 11. 

The matter of hop culture received consider- 
able attention this ^^ear and yards were plant- 
ed by Shoemaker and Shepard and Andrew 
Hanna in West Mankato, and by parties in 
South Bend and Eapidan. 

A bill v.'as passed by the Legislature in March 
appropriating $150,000.00 for the erection of 
three Normal school buildings, one of which to 
be at Mankato, but it was vetoed by Gov. Mar- 
shall and the Mankato normal building had to 
be postponed. 

A number of new school districts were cre- 
ated this year in the new towns on the Winne- 
bago Agency. On July 13th, 1867, several 
thousand acres of the Winnebago lands were sold 
mostly to speculators for bids ranging from 
$7.00 to $7.25 per acre. 

About July 1, 1867, a raft of 50,000 feet 
of saw logs were floated from Lake Elysian 
through its outlet into the Le Sueur river. At 
the present village of St. Clair a number of 
tlie logs got stuck and were sold to the mills 
there. Most of the black walnuts were taken 
through. The navigation of the Minnesota was 
quite good this year. The Mollie Mohlcr alone 
made over 90 trips to Mankato. The other boats 
employed were the Chippeway Palls, Mankato, 
Jennette Eoberts, Julia, Ariel, G. B. Knapp, St. 
Anthony Palls, Tiber, Flora, Clipper and Hud- 
son. On May the 10th, 1867, the JuHa struck 
a snag about two miles below Mankato and 
sank. John H. Barr and his two sons, George 
T. and John H., were among the passengers at 
the time. They were moving with their house- 
hold goods to Mankato. None of the passengers 
were injured, but a lot of merchandise and goods 
■\vere more or less damaged. All efforts to raise 
the boat failed and she was dismantled and 
her hull still lies in the sands of the river. 

On June 9th, after a heavy rain, the Mollie 


Mohler ascended the Blue Earth and the Le years. The winter of 1867-8 was another cold 

Sneur to the Eed Jacket Mill, which stood Just winter with abundance of snow, 
below the present bridge of the Milwaukee Heretofore Mankato had been divided into 

railway, and carried away a load of flour. two school districts, but the Legislature of this 

During this summer Jacob Bierbauer built winter merged the two districts and created the 

at Mankato a large there story woolen mill, united districts into an independent one. At 

which was operated for some years. the beginning of 1868 the total capacity of the 

The last of May, 1867, Edwin Howe and his grist mills of the county was 3,000 bushels of 

brother of West Mankato started a dairy and wheat per day, or 600,000 bushels per annum, 

his milk wagon was the first seen on the streets The capacity of the 'saw mills of the county 

of Mankato or in Blue Earth County. During was 50,000 feet per day or 15,000,000 per 

this year the German Lutherans of Mankato annum. The live stock statistics for a period 

built a frame church, the first church building covering seven or eight years were as follows: 

of that denomination in the county. The sum- Year. Horses. Cattle. Sheep. Hogs. 

mer of 1867 saw Goist and Heintzelman from 1860 182 960 100 612 

,,,., • , , ,1 e , jt J. I, • 1 1862 995 6,258 1,293 3,027 

Illinois start the manufacture ol cement brick jgg^ j^g82 7^053 3,376 2,040 

at Garden City, but they did not continue long. 1866 '.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'. 2',714 8',227 lo',383 3',421 

, ^ '' ... ,n 1867 3,380 8,89310,126 4,195 

One A. J. Manley started a newspaper- there jggg 3g92 9^835 8,060 3,357 

called the "Garden City Hetald," which tar- 
ried a little longer. There had been 166 boat arrivals by mid- 

On September 19th, 1867, the last town in s^^^nmer and there were many arrivals there- 

our county was created by the County Com- atter. 

missioners, on petition of Joshua Ady and This year the county had twenty-one post- 
others, and called Decoria, after three Winne- o^i^es named as follows: 

bago chiefs of that name. The first town meet- Beauford. Tivoli. 

in ,, T rn ^ • /-v i. i. Garden City. Crisp's Store, 

mg was held on the second Tuesday m October judson. Iceland. 

at the house of John Larkin. Mankato. Liberty. 

This fall the main political fight in the Ee- gherman. ' Shelbyville. 

publican convention was for the office of sheriff Butternut Valley. Vernon Center. 

, . T, rn 1 1 T 1 n J.1 -x- Garden Prairie. ^Vatonwan. 

between Dan Tyner, who had held the position f^^^^ Lake. Willow Creek. 

for some years, and Evan Bowen. The latter Mapleton. Winnebago Agency. 

carried the day by one vote and was elected '" ^'^ ™^' 

on the 5th of November. On March 24, 1868, the city charter of Man- 
In November of this year two new post- kato, which had been granted by the Legisla- 
ofEices were created, one called "Loon Lake," ture about a month previous, was adopted by a 
situated in Garden City town, with Mrs. E; vote of 315 to 31. James A. Wiswell was 
Oookson as postmistress, and the other called elected mayor of the new city, Jacob Pfaff, 
"Iceland," located in Lincoln township, with Treasurer; E. D. B. Porter, Eecorder; J. Wm. 
David Quinn as postmaster. On November 30, Hoerr and Wm. B. Torrey, Justices, and the 
1867, the county purchased of Columbus Bal- city government went into effect on March 
lard its present Poor Farm, consisting of 160 31st, 1868. 

acres in section one of Eapidan. The price In March, Hiram Yates, who had been ap- 

paid was $3,300.00 and the special committee pointed the first superintendent of the new 

of the County Board who had charge of the county poor farm, took possession of the same, 

purchase were: Hanna, Evans, and Brown. taking with him the few poor people who were 

About Christmas, 1867, the Eolsom Mill, a county charge. The farm was then located 

about two miles below Garden City on the in the midst of a big forest and in one week 

Watonwan, was completed and began operation, nine or ten deer were killed in its vicinity. 

It enjoyed quite a custom trade for some But after the woods were cleared no better 



farmng land could be found anywhere. Navi- 
gation was fairly good again this year, and 
the same boats were engaged as the previous 
season for the most part. As many as five 
steamboats a day sometimes arrived at the Man- 
kato levee. 

On May 4th, 1868, the First National Bank 
of Mankato was organized by James B. Hub- 
bard, Stephen Lamm, A. C. Woolfolk, J. F. 
Meagher, J. B. Murphy, J. A. Willard, L. C. 
Harrington, Daniel Buck, J. T. Williams, J. 
J. Shaubut, J. M. Thomson, J. A. James, A. 
T. Lindhohn and John N. Hall. Mr. Hall 
was made its first cashier. It was the first 
institution of the kind in the county. One or 
two private banks and state banks had existed 
before, but they were rather small. In fact, 
the people had had no special need of banks 
in those early days, for there was not much 
money. The new bank began business about 
September 12th. On September 11, 1868, a 
Board of Trade was organized by forty-three 
business men of Mankato, at the office of Payne 
and Hoerr. John H. Barr became its first 

The Minnesota Valley Eailroad and the Wi- 
nona and St. Peter Eailroad had been getting 
nearer every year to Mankato. The Valley 
road made a proposition to complete its rail- 
way into Mankato by December 1st, if a bonus 
of $15,000.00 in bonds, a right of way over 
4th street and depot grounds between Plum 
and Elm streets were given it. The proposition 
was voted upon by the city on June 3rd and 
carried by a vote of 423 for to 142 against. 

In June, 1868, two new postofEices were 
created in Blue Earth County, one located on 
northwest quarter of section 28 in Decoria, 
designated "Decoria," and the other situated 
on the northwest quarter of section 13, Beau- 
ford, called "Perch Lake." 

In July of this year we hear of the first old 
settlers' meeting in the county. It met at 
the residence of John S. Hinckley in Mankato, 
and an Old Settlers' Association organized, 
with Mr. Hinckley as President, membership 
to which was eligible to only those who came 
to the county in 1854 or prior years. 

This year (1868) Miaer Porter greatly im- 
proved and beautified the grounds about his 
summer hotel near South Bend by planting 
groves, arbors and fiowers and building swings, 
walks, fancy gates and fences, and the place 
was designated "Minneineopa Park." 

For two or three years the Colorado beetle 
had been doing more and more damage each 
year to the potato crop. This year it was par- 
ticularly bad. As yet the people had not dis- 
covered the best means for its destruction. 

On October 7th, 1868, the first term of the 
Mankato Normal school opened in the base- 
ment of the il. E. Church at Mankato. The 
opening day proved stormy and only twenty- 
seven scholars were present. The second day 
thirty-five were enrolled. On October 36, the 
school was removed to the second story of the 
new brick store building of John J. Shaubut 
on the corner of Front and Main Streets. These 
quarters were 100 feet long by twenty-two feet 
wide, and divided into four rooms. There 
were forty school desks, fifty-two scholars en- 
rolled in the Normal department and sixteen in 
the Model. By the close of the first term there 
were ninety enrolled in both departments. 
Prof. G. M. Gage was its first president and 
Miss Susie Dyer (now Mrs. L. G. M. Fletcher) 
as first assistant. The second term opened at 
the same place with fifty-five pupils in the 
Normal department and twenty-four in Model 
department. Miss Emma H. Collins was added 
to the faculty as second assistant. The Legis- 
lature of 18G9 appropriated $30,000.00 for 
a Normal school building, and the corner stone 
was laid on June 19th, 1868, with appropriate 
Masonic rites by S. F. Barney, and an address 
by President Gage. The building and furnish- 
ings cost over $50,000.00 and an additional 
appropriation was made by the Legislature. 
The building was of brick, 126 by 116 feet, 
three stories high above basement, and embell- 
ished with two towers 120 feet high. It con- 
tained sixteen rooms. The architect was W. P. 
Boardman; contractor, Lewis J. Lewis; build- 
ing committee: Daniel Buck (member of State 
Normal Board), James Brown and L. C. Har- 
rington. On September 7th, 1870, the new 
building began to be occupied and in April, 



1871, it was fully . completed. The faculty in 
tlie fall of 1870 was: 

President, Geo. M. Gage. 

Teacher of Language and Literature, Miss 
Susie M. Dyer. 

Mathematics, Geography and History, Miss 
Jennie M. Hayden. 

IVLusic, fc). M. Weigel. 

Gymnastics, Miss Calista Andrews. 

Grammer and Model, Geo. A. Eerguson. 

Principle Intermediate Dept., Miss A. Ella 

Principal Primary (School, Miss Annie Y. 

The number of JSTormal students were 136, 
of whom 38 were males and 98 females. The 
first graduating class in 1870 had ten members. 
In 1871, the INormal department had 198 pupils 
and the Model department 174, making a total 
O'i 372. The graduating class of June 1873, 
numbered 23. 

On October 3, 1868 the Valley Railroad 
(now called Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis 
and Omaha) was completed to Mankato and 
the first train arrived. The first freight was 
shipped over it on October 8th and consisted 
of 200 barrels of flour from the Red Jacket 
mills. The regular passenger trains began run- 
ning on October 12, 1868, and the fare to St. 
Paul was $4.00. On October 29, the advent of 
the railway was duly celebrated at Mankato, by 
the citizens of that town and of the county 
generally. A banquet and an excursion to St. 
I'aul were the two principal features. For 
many years the people of Blue Earth County 
had longed for a railroad. The uncertainty 
of river navigation and its short duration made 
it impossible for the boats to handle the rapidly 
growing traffic. It was a great day for both 
city and county. The days of their isolation 
were past, their problem of transportation was 
solved, henceforth they were a living part of 
the great commercial world. ISTo wonder they 
rejoiced. With the railroad came, also, the 
telegraph and, by October 17, 1868, the North- 
western Telegraph company had its lines com- 
pleted and sent its first messages to and from 
Mankato, and our county seat was at last con- 

nected with the great civilized world by both 
rail and wire. 

In November, 1868, Mr. Wise sold the "Man- 
kato Weekly Record" to Orville Brown and 
J. T. Williams. For many years Mr. Williams 
was the principal politician of the county. Some 
called him the '"Political boss." He was very 
active, energetic and shrewd and knew every 
person in the county and knew how to reach 
men in a political way. He was a strong Repub- 
lican and an ardent admirer of Senator Wm. 
Windom. For some reason or other Mr. Gris- 
wold of the Union had fallen out with Senator 
Windom and his friend Williams. It was neces- 
sary that Mr. Windom should have a political 
organ in Blue Earth County; Williams, there- 
fore, negotiated for Windom the purchase of 
the Record. He then got 0. Brown, who was 
running the Faribault Republican, to dispose 
of that paper and' come to Mankato to take 
charge of the Record, which was changed from 
a Democratic to Republican paper. Mr. Wil- 
liams was quick tempered and when he had 
quarreled with a person he wanted that person 
to know it. Mr. Brown was a man after Wil- 
liams own heart for he had a special gift in 
the way of heaping coals of fire on an enemy's 
head, and keeping those coals good and hot. He 
was naturally an able and forcible writer on 
any topic, but in invective he was an expert, 
and his paper was always well spiced and gin- 
gered. With the last issue in November, Mr. 
Wise's connection with the Record ceased, and 
with the first issue in December the paper, which 
had been born and bred in pure Democracy, 
suddenly, under a new master was converted 
into a radical Republican. So abrupt was the 
transaction that some of the staid Democratic 
subscribers of the good old Bourbon variety, had 
to pinch themselves and feel of their pulses to 
make sure thej were not having a night-mare 
or something worse. 

The County by this time had been making 
considerable progress along educational lines. 
In 1868 there were eighty-one summer schools 
taught and the whole number of scholars was 
2077. During the winter of 1868-9 the whole 
number of public schools was 68 and the num- 
ber of scholars attending 2093. There were 70 



teachers employed, 45 of them males and 25 
females. Two of the schools were graded, 
employing two teachers each. There were 115 
organized districts in the county, and 23 new 
school houses built during the year, at an aggre- 
gate cost of $10,712.13. There were 77 school 
houses, one of brick, one of stone, thirty-four of 
frame and forty-one of logs. This does not 
include Mankato nor the private and parochial 

Wheat raising was now getting to be the 
principal farm industry. In January about 
'j0,000 bushels were marketed at Mankato alone. 
The fact was that Mankato was about the only 
market point for wheat in the county or even 
Southwestern Minnesota, being the head of 
transportation. Since the advent of the Eail- 
way in October 1868 to July 1, 1869, there 
had been shipped by it from Mankato 335,341 
bushels of wheat and 20,769 barrels of flour, 
equal in all to 439,321 bushels. It was an 
every day sight in those days to see a line of 
fifty or sixty teams waiting their turn to unload 
at the elevator. The assessors reported 40,689 
acres of land under cultivation in Blue Earth 
County in 1868, 25,566 of which were devoted 
to wheat, and the wheat raised in the county 
for that year amounted to about 550,000 hush- 

Between April 1, 1867, and April 1, 1869 
there was manufactured at Mankato: 

Farming Mills 1,114 

Horse rakes 172 

Plows 704 

Corn cultivators 100 

During the same period there were imported 
and sold at the same place: 

Reapers and mowers 428 

Seeders 443 

which indicates how the county was growing 
in an agricultural way, as well as how Mankato 
was developing as a manufacturing center. The 
wool trade of Mankato for the spring of 1869, 
amounted to 43,640 pounds. Then the fur 
trade still continued considerable in spite of the 
settling of the county. The two principal 
firms at Mankato dealing in furs at this time 
were, Barkman, Eeid & Kellog, and Marks & 
Hollenbeck. Between March 1st and July 1st, 
1869, these firms purchased the following pelts: 

Muskrat 213,350 

Mink 1,205 

Otter 97 

Brown and red fox 975 

Coon 600 

Badger 375 

Skunk 190 

Lynx 25 

The total value of all furs marketed at Man- 
kato in those four months was about $88,800. 

crtTHoi-ic c^^^JRo»-*-GooE>TMUN^e'^ 

ef»lSCO*»Al- CHU»=^CH ~ <SOOI>rHL>A)C>eR 





Showing somewhat the extent of the immi- 
gration, it may be noted that between May 19, 
1866 and July 23, 1869, there had been entered 
at the U. S. land office with cash and land 
warrants ia Blue Earth County 4,963 acres and 
as homesteads 16,437 acres. 

This year (1869), the county bridge, 353 feet 
long, was erected over the Blue Earth at West 
Mankato. During this summer, also, the St. 
Paul and Sioux City Railroad was extended 
from Mankato to Crystal Lake. Here a new 
town was laid out in May, 1869 by Lucius 0. 
Hunt and Wniiam R. Robinson and named 
"Lake Crystal." By the time the railway 
reached this point in September, quite a vill- 
age had sprung up, where two months before 
there was only a field to be seen. The Loon 
Lake Postofiice was discontinued and a new 
office established at Lake Crystal with Henry 
Humphrey as first postmaster on September 1, 
1869. By December 1, 1869 we note that Lake 
Crystal possessed a grain elevator, a hotel, built 
by S. P. Oakley, a two story frame school house, 
34x40, a two story frame store, built by Henry 
Humphrey and occupied with a stock of gro- 
ceries and drugs by Pomeroy & Wickersham, 
a store building erected by W. C. Davis and 
occupied by him with a stock of hardware, a 
building occupied by Davis & Dunn as general 
store, another building occupied by P. A. Lar- 
fcon with another general store, a harness shop 
conducted by Wm. Seeger, a cooper shop in charge 
of Dorwood & McKay, and a doctor's office. H. 
C. Howard, also, had just sold his flour mill at 
Shelby Center to Henry Day for $1,600 and his 
sawmill at the same place to Asa White and S. C. 
Hilton, who moved it to section three of Mc- 
Pherson, and had built him a home at Lake 

Crystal and opened there an agricultural imple- 
ment store. In short. Lake Crystal had grown 
in about four months from nothing to a bust- 
ling village of forty buildings and on February 
34, 1870, was incorporated by the Legislature 
as a village. 

On July 3, 1869 the Republicans of Blue 
Earth County tried what was known as the 
Crawford plan of nominating their county offi- 
cers. This was really a priniar}- election method 
such as is now in vogue. It happened this 
year that the Republicans had nine candidates 
for sheriff and there were three to five candi- 
dates each for some of the other offices, and the 
persons who were nominated, only received one- 
fifth to one-third of the total vote. This caused 
great dissatisfaction with the Primary Election 
plan and it was abolished at an election held 
May 31, 1870, by a vote of 439 to 103. The 
Republican nominee for sheriff and some of 
the other nominees of that party for county 
offices were beaten at the polls. P. H. Waite of 
Mankato ran as an Independent candidate for 
Judge of the District Court at this election. 
Being a Democrat, he was endorsed by his own 
party, and elected by a good majority over 
Andrew C. Dunn the Republican nominee. 

About October 1, 1869, a post office was creat- 
ed ia the southwest corner of Rapidan with 
Dr. N. Bixby as postmaster. He, also, had to 
act as his own mail carrier. 

The Winona & St. Peter Railroad had now 
reached Janesville, and had its track laid to 
the east line of our county, and a village was 
laid out there called "Smith's Mill," one- 
half of which is located in each county. 

Back in 1857, the territorial Legislature had 
created a railway company called the "Minne- 




sota and Northwestern Eailroad company." 
^imong the incorporators were Dr. Wm. E. 
McMahan and Basil Moreland of Mankato, 
Matthew Thompson of South Bend, and Pran- 
cis Bassen and Col. Wm. Pfender of New Ulm, 
and the road was to run from a point on the 
Iowa line via Austin, Mankato, South Bend, 
New Ulm, and Big Stone Lake, to the mouth 
of Sioux Wood Eiver. This charter was renewed 
by an act passed by the Legislature in March, 
1867, and the route designated being the same 
practically as in the original bill, except that 
Geneva and Wilton were added to the points 
the road was to pass through. In March 1869, 
this act ' was again amended, to the effect that 
the line of the road should begin on or near 
the Iowa line, and run by Albert Lea to Man- 
kato and thence in the direction of Big Stone 
Lake to the western boundary of the State. The 
corporation was also authorized to construct a 
branch from Mankato to Blue Earth City and 
to change its name if it saw proper. This year 
James B. Hubble, John A. Willard and Clark 
Thompson took hold of the charter and deter- 
mined to use it to construct a railroad from 
Mankato by way of Good Thunder's Pord to 
connect with the Chicago and Milwaukee Eail- 
way at Wells. It was also planned to extend 
the road in a northwesterly direction later. 
Mankato and the whole county became greatly 
interested in the project. December 18, 1869, 
a mass meeting was held at Higgins Hall, Man- 
kato, to consider the project, and a resolution 
was passed in favor of granting the company a 
bonus of $65,000. On December 23, the com- 
mon council of Mankato voted to issue bonds 
to that amount, subject to the approval 
of the electors of the city, and an election was 
called for January 4, 1870. The vote resulted 
464 in favor and 10 against the bonus. Janu- 
ary 13, 1870 Lime voted $4,000 bonus for same 
purpose by vote of 35 to 29. Beauford, Maple- 
ton, and Lyra voted $15,000 each and Mankato 
Township and Decoria $10,000 each. The road 
was begun in the summer of 1870, and com- 
pleted in 1874. 

May 25, 1869, Mr. J. C. Wise re-entered the 
newspaper field, bringing out on that date the 
first issue of the "Mankato Eeview." Mr.' B. C. 

Payne was at first associated with him as editor 
and proprietor, but after one yeax's experience 
retired. The paper was conducted as a Demo- 
cratic Journal and under the able management 
of Mr. Wise became very popular and influen- 

The snow fall of 1868-9 was seven and one 
half feet and that of 1869-70 seven and one- 
sixth feet, which resulted in a good stage of 
water in the Minnesota each spring. The steam- 
boat trade therefore continued quite good in 
spite of tha arrival of the railroads. Many of 
the boats, however, withdrew. Among those 
who continued in 1869, were the Ellen Hardy, 
St. Anthony Palls, Jennette Eoberts, Otter, 
Mankato, and Pioneer. The Otter for two or 
tnree years made regular trips between New 
Ulm and South Bend, transferring at the latter 
place passengers and freight to the St. Paul 
and Sioux City Eailroad. The Otter at this 
time was owned by New Ulm business men. 
John Segar was her captain in 1870, and after- 
wards Boncoeur Subilier, both of New Ulm. 
In 1870, there were about eighty steamboat 
arrivals at Mankato. Among the boats engaged 
this year were the Otter, Mankato, St. Anthony, 
Tiger, Dexter, John C. Gault and G. B. Knapp. 
The total wheat receipts at Mankato up to Feb- 
ruary 1, 1870 from the 1869 crop amounted to 
213,970 bushels, which indicates that there was 
considerable transportation to do. 

Early in March Dr. E. D. Buckner started 
a newspaper at Lake Crystal called the "Peoples 
Journal." On May 3, it merged with the "Gar- 
den City Herald," under the name of "Herald 
and Journal" and continued its place of publi- 
cation at Garden City, until August, 1870, when 
it was discontinued, and the press removed to 
Madelia. On March 4, 1870, the following mail 
routes existed in Blue Earth County, carrying 
mail to the postoffices named: 

(1) Prom Mankato by Tivoli, Winnebago 
Agency, Medo, Sherman to Minnesota lake, ser- 
vice semi-weekly. 

(2) Prom Mankato by Decoria, Beauford, 
Perch Lake and Garden Prairie to Minnesota ' 
Lake, service weekly. 

(3) Prom Mankato by Eed Jacket Mills, 



! 1 

Castle Garden, Good Thunder Pord, Mapleton, 
to Minnesota Lake, service weekly. 

(4) From Mankato by South Bend, Garden 
City, Vernon Center, Shelbyville, to Blue Earth 
City, service six times a week. 

(5) From Mankato by South Bend, Lalce 
Crystal, Iceland, to Madelia, daily service. 

(6) From Mankato by South Bend, Judson, 
Butternut Valley to New Ukn, service sis times 
a week. 

(7) From Garden City by Watonwan, Wil- 
low Creek, Pleasant Mounds, to Eairmont, ser- 
vice twice a week. 

(8) From Vernon Center via Sterling Cen- 
ter to Mapleton, service semi-weekly. 

(9) From Winona via Spier (Eagle Lake) 
to Mankato, service daily. 

(10) From Wilton via Cobb river to Minne- 
sota Lake, weekly. 

In March, IS';*©, a number of Germans at 
Mankato organized a Turner Society, with forty 
members. The main object of the society was 
gymnastic exercise and social privileges. 

During the years 1869, 1870,-71 and 72 the 
old settlers held their reunions at Mankato. 
Fourth of July celebrations were held in various 
parts of the county. In 1869, Garden City had 
the principle one with Judge Austin as orator. 
In 1870, Winnebago Agency, and a grove near 
Mr. Taylor's store in Mapleton were the centers 
of patriotic demonstrations. 

During those years the Blue Earth County 
bar possessed an array of legal and forensic 
talent of great ability. Judge Waite, who had 
come to the county in 1860, and who recently 
had won fame in his legal battles in behalf of 
the city of Mankato to recover its streets, levees, 
and public grounds against private greed, which 
had appropriated them, and against the St. 
Paul and Sioux City Eailroads, who had attempt- 
ed to steal a right of way through the city 
without paying therefor, was now on the bench. 
As a lawyer he was a great worker, and ener- 
getic and persistent fighter, and as a judge he 
was able, honest and impartial. Daniel Buck, 
who had first settled in South Bend, but had 
recently removed to Mankato. He was an inde- 
fatigable worker. Impulsive, honest, earnest, 
determined, a firm believer in the right of his 

clients case, a strong man with the jury, he 
continued the Nestor of the Bar of our county 
nearly half a century. E. P. Freeman came 
to Mankato early in 1S62, a graduate of Yale 
Law school, having a good legal mind, well 
trained, a genial, kind hearted man, whom all 
liked. But he allowed politics and his social 
habits to interfere too much at times with his 
law practice. Served as County Attorney, as 
Legislator and as Receiver of the U. S. Land 
Office for many years. Judge Brown came to 
Mankato in 1865, from Indiana. He was a 
gentleman of the old school, medium sized, 
smooth shaved, with an erect, alert figure. Neat 
and professional in dress but not particularly 
stylish. Always polite and affable. Fond of 
classical learning and all educational matters. 
A good lawyer but lacking a little in depth 
and breadth. His partner James A. Wiswell 
located in 1857, in Garden City, removed to 
Mankato about 1854, and went into partner- 
ship with Judge Brown, and for many years firm of Brown & Wiswell were prominent 
among the Blue Earth County bar. He was 
not as polished or well educated as Judge 
Brown, but possessed considerable native abil- 
ity and was a man. of good judgment. He 
served the County as Legislator for several terms 
and the city of Mankato as its first mayor. 

0. 0. Pitcher came to Mankato as an edu- 
cator in 1857, and after a few years entered 
the law. He possessed a good legal mind, and 
served as County Attorney and legislator, but 
was not a great trial lawyer, and after a few 
years retired from active practice. He took 
much interest in political matters. 

In 1870, Martin J. Severance removed to 
JIankato and at once took a leading place among 
the bar of the county. He had an impressive 
presence and splendid oratorical powers, which 
gave him strength before a jury. He was, also, 
well versed in the law and strictly honest and 
upright as a . man. At first he formed a co- 
partnership with Mr. Pitcher and later with 
D. A. Dickenson. Judge Dickenson opened a 
law office in Mankato in 1868. He was an 
able lawyer, a thorough gentleman, clean and 
upright. Among the younger men were, M. 
G. Willard who came to Mankato in 1868, and 



devoted most of his attention to mercantile and 
real estate law. A. E. Pfau, began the prac- 
tice of his profession at Mankato in 1869, 
and was quick, witty and vigorous in the tria,! 
of his case, a popular young lawyer with the 
jury; and J. E. Porter, who came to Mankato 
in 1870, but was soon elected Judge of Probate 
and side tracked from the law. Such were 
the most prominent members of the bar in our 
county in the early seventies. A line array of 
men of splendid character and talent. Pour of 
whom became district court judges and two 
.-vive sat upon the supreme bench of the state. 

On May 29, 1870 Mankato had its first big 
fire, when five stores in block fourteen were 
wiped out. 

As indicating the speed of steam boats on 
the Minnesota it is recorded that on May 14, 
1870, the Tiger made the distance from Eed 
Wood to Mankato in thirteen and one-half hours, 
being the quickest time it had ever been made. 

By August, 1870, the track of the Winona 
and St. Peter Eailroad was completed to Bur- 
gess' Mill (the present site of Eagle Lake), and 
on August 26, its first train, consisting of two 
passenger coaches, a baggage and mail coaches 
and three freight cars arrived at Mankato. On 
October 35, 1870, the completion of the road to 
Mankato was celebrated by a grand excursion 
and a big dinner, at which Judge Waite acted 
as toast master and speeches were made by 
Judge Wm. Mitchell, Judge C. H. Berry, Mayor 
Lee of St. Paul, D. Sinclair and others. In 
September, 1870, D. C. Evans and Elias F. 
Drake platted the townsite of Minneopa. The 
St. Paul and Sioux City road erected a grain 
elevator here, at which D. C. Evans acted as 
buyer. In the month of ISTovember alone he 
bought and shipped 19,600 bushels of wheat 
from this station. J Dean of Minneapolis 
opened a lumber yard here, and during the sum- 
mer the picturesque falls attracted picnic excur- 
sions from St. Paul, St. Peter, Mankato and a 
number of other places. 

This year the hop product of the Prisbie and 
Shepard yard amounted to 9,000 pounds and 
that of the Hanna yard to 7,000 pounds. 

On December 13, 1870, for the first time in 
the history of the county its treasurer was able 

to pay the jurors of the District Court in cash. 
Heretofore they and all creditors of the county 
had been paid in county orders, which were 
discounted at the stores, but at last our county 
had become solvent and has so remained ever 

The fall of 1870, was very fine and even wild 
fiowers were found on the prairie as late as 
December. About Nov. 1, 1870, the new post 
ofllice of "Speier" was established near the Bur- 
gess mill in Le Eay and Freeman A. Gate 
appointed postmaster. 

In October 1870, Mapleton station was sur- 
veyed on the line of the new Wells railroad and 
on January 21, 1871, a plat of the new town- 
site was made by David Smith (Owner of the 
land) and Clark W. Thompson, James B. Hub- 
bell, and John A. Willard, who as owners of 
the Eailway, had received each a one-fourth 
interest in the townsite. 

Arrangements were also made to lay out 
another townsite on the land of Levi Houk at 
Good Thunder's Ford, and a survey of this 
town was made in April, 1871, by Levi Hauk, 
Clark W. Thompson, James B. Hubbell and 
John A. Willard, and a plat filed in which the 
village was designated "Good Thunder." Imme- 
diately after the survey in April, John G. Gra- 
ham, who had been in business at Garden City, 
began the erection of a store building at Good 
Thunder. The carpenter work was done by 
Julius Webber, then a young carpenter at Gar- 
den City, but afterwards for many years the 
honored judge of the Ninth Judicial District, 
with home at New Ulm. Early in June, 1871, 
Mr. Graham moved his stock of general mer- 
chandise from Garden City to Good Thunder, 
and, a postofEice being established there about 
the same time, he was made its first postmaster. 
Before the middle of June two stores had been 
opened and a building for a hardware store 
nearly completed at the new town. 

Soon after the survey of Mapleton station in 
October, 1870, James E. Brown, who was in the 
mercantile business at Winnebago Agency built 
a store at the new townsite and began business^ 
there. In May, 1871, he sold out his business 
at Winnebago Agency and removed entirely to 
Mapleton, becoming its first merchant. 



During the winter of 1870-71 wlieat went up 
to $1 per bushel to the great encouragement 
of the farmers. About April 1, 1871 the Blue 
Earth Valley Farmers' Club was organized at 
Shelbyville with following officers: 

President, Chas. Holgate. 

Vice-President, James Miller. 

Treasurer, C. Crocker. 

Secretary, David E. Cross. 

Corresponding Secretary, C. Crandall. 

In the fall of 1870, Eev. A. Council of the 
Christian Church started a college at ]\Iankato 
known as "Blue Earth College," which ran for 
i.bout a year. Eev. Council was a very capable 
and energetic young man, but in quite feeble 
health, and before the end of the school year, 
he was obliged to resign because of sickness, 
and his assistant, Hiss E. J. Dickerson, finished 
the first year of the school and then it had to 
be abandoned. 

In March, 1871, Mankato school District 
voted $10,000.00 bonds for the erection of a sec- 
ond school building, and the "Pleasant Grove" 
school house was completed that fall. At Man- 
kato in 1871, we also note the building of a fac- 
tory on 2nd street opposite the American House, 
for the manufacture of doors, sash, blinds, etc., 
by Wolfram and Pans; the building of a large 
brick residence by John J. Shaubut, which now 
forms a part of St. Joseph's Hospital; and 
the construction of the present large German 
Catholic Church. The laying of the corner stone 
of the latter building on .July 24th, was a not- 
able event. Bishop Grace officiated and there 
were grand processions in charge of Dr. Foil- 
man as Marshal, and impressive ceremonies wit- 
nessed by about 3,000 persons. The building 
cogt about $-15,000.00 originally. 

As long as the stage of water permitted the 
Pioneer and the Hudson were run between Man- 
kato and New Ulm and Epd Wood in connection 
with the Winona and St. Peter railway, and 
the Otter and the St. Anthony Palls in connec- 
tion with the St. Paul and Sioux City Bailway. 
As the river was low much of the summer, steam- 
hoat traific to St. Paul was largelv discontinued, 
and in two or three ye^rs craped altogether. The 
boats were unable with the uncertain stage of 
water -to compete with the railroads. On July 7, 

1871, one of the worst hail storms that ever visit- 
ed the county swept over the townships of Cam- 
bria, Judson, South Bend, Butternut Valley, 
Lincoln, Garden City and portions of Jledo, work- 
ing wholesale destruction to over 10,000 acres 
of grain in our own county, besides the havoc 
done in Brown and Nicollet counties. Many of 
the farmers were left in utter destitution, with- 
out even bread or seed, let alone the wherewith 
to meet their obligations. All their hard labor 
for the entire year gone in a few moments. The 
farmer of those days had nothing to fall back 
upon if his wheat crop failed. During the win- 
ter of 1871-2 about 1,300 of these hail storm 
sufferers applied to the governor for aid to pro- 
cure seed wheat. The Legislature passed meas- 
ures for their relief and the County Commis- 
sioners of Blue Earth County were authorized 
to issue $5,000.00 in bonds for the aid of such 
sufferers in this county. The bonds, however, 
were defeated at the polls in March by a vote 
of 579 against to 531 in favor. Some of the 
towns, who had suffered no harm, with the 
selfishness too often witnessed in public mat- 
ters, voted almost solid against the proposition. 
At their meeting of March, 1871, the County 
Board had over 100 applications for aid from 
the hail sufferers and gave such assistance as 
they were able. Private subscriptions, also, did 
something to relieve the situation. Public char- 
ity is always grossly abused by the dishonest and 
unworthy, which thought doubtless influenced 
the vote on the bonds, yet the example of Him, 
"Who makes his sun shine on the just and the 
imjust" is the safest rule in cases of great pub- 
lic calamity and actual need. 

In the fall of 1871, Woodham and Burgess 
built a flour mill at the outlet of Eagle Lake. 
On January 25, 1872, the Blue Earth Valley 
Bums Club met at the house of James Ellis 
in Sterling and the good old songs and games of 
bonny Scotland were given a full test on the 
snowy banks of Lake Lura. The officers elect- 
ed for the coming year were : 

President, James Ellis. 

Vice-President, James Curry. 

Treasurer, John Johnston. 

Eecording Secretary. Chas. Sanborn. 

Cor. Secretary, Eobert Taylor. 



The winter of 1871-3 had an abundant snow- 
fall, in some of the railway cuts it was twenty 
feet deep. The depth of the snow drove the 
deer from the timber back of Mankato and 
they were found at times in Van Brunt and 
Warren Additions. 

During the summer of 1871, there were a 
number of railway excursions gotten up by 
the churches of Mankato as a means of recrea- 
tion and of raising money. Some of the 
churches cleared $150.00 to $200.00 each on 
these excursions. 

The Citizens National Bank of Mankato was 
organized on the 28th of May, 1872. John P. 
Meagher was chosen President, J. P. Bishop, 
vice-president, and J. H. Ray cashier, and the 
following were made directors: H. Wolfram, 
Daniel Buck, J. W. Bishop, J. P. Meagher, M. 
Schwartz, J. A. James, Chas. Mansfield, J. J. 
Thompson, J. T. Williams, Wm. Thomas and 
Wm. Condon. On May 20, 1872, E. S. Eich 
started a cheese factory at Lake Crystal, a fore- 
runner of the great dairy industry, . which has 
later made such wonderful progress. 

On July 23, 1872, a German singing society 
known as the Harmonia, laid the corner stone 
of their new hall, which is the present opera 
house at Mankato. There was a procession of 
various lodges and clubs present. A. E. Pfau 
gave the English address and Prof. Neumeyer 
spoke in German. The building was finished 
this year and senator Wilkinson gave the dedi- 
catory oration on Christmas day. 

On the 13th of August, 1872, The Mankato 
Linseed Oil Co., was organized by John A. 
Willard, James B. Hubbell and E. D. Hubbard 
and the works at Mankato greatly enlarged. This 
company located flax mills at Lake Crystal and 
in Shelby to prepare the crude material for 
their Mankato factory. On June 4, 1872, the 
Blue Earth County Beekeepers Association met 
in convention at Eraser's Hall, Garden City, and 
stimulated the culture of the honey industry. A. 
W. Hawley, B. B. Parker, Edson Gerry, E. G. 
Eew, J. P. Purber and B. Coffin were among 
those who participated in the convention. 

On September 3, 1872, the Germans of Man- 
kato formed a new militia company, called "Na- 
tional Guards," with forty members, officered 
as follows: 

Captain, Leopold Pry. 

Pirst Lieut., H. Himmelman. 

Second Lieut.,. Chas. H. Otto. 

Pirst Sergeant, Gust Schildknecht. 

Second Sergeant, Geo. Schoiler. 

Corporal, Geo. Steins. 

At the November election, 1872, the Eepubli- 
cans and Democrats divided the honors. Among 
the democrats elected were Daniel Buck, for 
County Attorney, J. Wm. Hoerr for County 
Treasurer, and J. E. Porter for Judge of Pro- 
bate. Porter was a new man and running against 
David Wilcox, one of the best known men in 
the county, and under the circumstances Porter's 
victory was a great surprise. He won by four 

Winter set in early in the fall of 1872, and 
the railroads had snow blockades about the first 
of November. Most of the farmers and the own- 
ers of horse flesh generally were, also, blockaded 
this winter, for the Epizootic everywhere was 
prevalent. As the winter progressed the snow 
became ever deeper and the temperature colder. 
The railroads in spite of every effort were block- 
aded for weeks at a time. The Winona & St. Peter 
road suffered particularly on the portion of their 
road between St. Peter and New Ulm, and its 
trains were hardly able to get to the latter place all 
winter and the mails had to be carried thither on 
sleighs. Two hundred shovelers were kept at 
work, but to no purpose, for what they cleared 
out one day would blow full the next. On Jan- 
uary 7, 1873, a terrible blizzard set in, which 
lasted for two days. It was about the worst 
known in the history of the country and many 
people were frozen to death, and Blue Earth 
county did not entirely escape. D. Kirk, a 
school teacher of Garden City, and a brother 
of David Kirk, afterwards county superintendent 
of schools, was caught by the storm away from 
home and perished. John Halverson of Medo 
was likewise caught and so badly frozen that 
his feet and hands had to be amputated. About 
seventy persons perished in the State and thirty- 
one were seriously injured. About 250 cattle 
and twenty-five horses were destroyed by the 

Elsewhere in this volume will be found a table 
showing the growth of our public schools during 
the past forty-five years, prepared from, the an- 



nual reports furnished the State Superintendent 
of Puhlic Instruction. Here will be noted the 
transition from the log school house to the frame 
and brick, the gradual substitution of female 
for male teachers, the advance in wages, and 
the increase in the number of scholars. All are 
items of interest and worthy of consideration. 
Statistics, however, do not reveal the real 
work of education, what advance has been made 
in methods of teaching, how much better educat- 
ed the youth of today are if any, compared with 
their fathers and mothers, who attended the 
schools of thirty and forty years ago, are ques- 
tions of more importance. The advantages of the 
present over the past pertain, however, more to 
the city and village than to the country school, for 
the latter continues much as of yore, except that 
the men teachers have disappeared and likewise 
most of the older scholars. Many of the latter 
now attend the high school of some nearby 
village or town. The primitive log schoolhouse, 
in which the only furniture consisted of a box 
stove in the corner by the door, a chair and 
cheap table at the farther end of the room for 
the teacher, and a few rude homemade benches 
ranged between for the pupils, have long since 
vanished. But the white painted frame struc- 
ture, with patent desks, a black board, a few 
maps and charts on the wall, and a globe and 
dictionary on the teachers desk, still remains, 
much as in the seventies. In this connection it 
may not be void of interest to take a mere glimpse 
into a number of the school houses of the county 
in the fall of 1872, with E. C. Payne, then 
County Superintendent, as he reported the same 
in the Eeview of that day. 

District ISTo. 53, Mankato Township, Teacher, 
Miss Mary Bailey, wages $30.00 per month, pu- 
pils enrolled forty-eight, present thirty-eight 
good frame building. 

District No. 3, Tivoli, teacher Miss Mary 
Maynard, wages $100 for three months, enrolled 
thirty-three, present twenty-one, need a new 
school house. 

District Fo. 72, Eed Jacket, teacher Lizzie 
Faddis, wages $30 per month, enrolled twenty- 
seven, present eighteen, doing good work. 

District No. 91, Eapidan, teacher Wm. Blain, 

wages $40.00 per month, enrolled thirty, pres- 
ent nineteen, a good school. 

District No. 16, Garden City Village, Primary 
Department: Miss Emma King, teacher, enroll- 
led thirty-two, present twenty-five, wages $30.; 
Intermediate Department; Miss Emma L. Wal- 
ker, teacher, enrolled 49, present forty-two, 
wages $30. High school, David Kirk, teacher, 
enrolled forty-three, present thirty-six, wages 
$45.00. School house large two story frame. 

District No. 107, Minneopa Falls, Miss Anna 
Jenkins, teacher, wages $40, enrolled twenty- 
five, present twenty, good frame building. 

District No. 5, South Bend and Judson, Wm, 
E. Davis, teacher, wages $45.00, enrolled 44, 
present 30, small frame building. 

District No. 17, Garden City Township, A. 
L. Pratt, teacher, wages $40, enrolled 32, 
present 28, good frame building. 

District No. 21, Garden City and Vernon, 
Miss Hattie A. Eew, teacher, wages $30, enroll- 
ed 40, present 32, frame building. 

District No. 26, Vernon Center Township, A. 
C. Harrison, teacher, wages $40, enrolled 26, 
present 18, good frame building. 

District No. 24, Village of Vernon, Merrit 
Turner, teacher, wages $40, enrolled 59, present 
38, very poor frame building. 

District No. 123, Shelby, Miss Lou Evans, 
teacher, wages $28, enrolled 14, present 12, good 
frame building. 

District No. 46, Shelby, John Owens, teacher, 
wages $30, enrolled 19, present 14, good frame 

District No. 47 Village of Shelbyville, Miss 
Emma Merrill, teacher, wages $35, enrolled 30, 

District No. 117, Shelby, G. W. Dewn, teach- 
present 22, good frame building, 
er, wages $20 and board, enrolled 24, present 22, 
new brick building of good size. 

District No. 37, Pleasant Mound, W. H. De- 
graff teacher, wages $16 and board, enrolled 16, 
present 8, poor frame building. 

District No. 125, Pleasant Mound, Miss M. 
E. Aiken, teacher, wages $24, enrolled 15, 
present 8, new brick building. 

District No. 27, Shelby, C. H. Eadford, 
teacher, wages $45, enrolled 38, present 23, new 



brick of good size, best school house in county 
outside of Mankato. 

District Ko. 90, Eapidan, Miss M. J. Plymat, 
teacher, wages $33, enrolled 23, present 17, 
good frame building. 

District No. 23, Vernon, A. M. Hannay, teach- 
er, school not in session that day. 

District No. 25, Vernon, S. N. Rose, teach- 
er, school not in session. 

District No. 72, Red Jacket Mills, B. 0. Stod- 
dard, teacher, wages $42, enrolled 42, present 
29, stone building. 

District No. 79, Rapidan, R. A. Moses, teach- 
er, wages $40, enrolled 24, present 16, good 
frame building. 

District No. 141, Rapidan and Lyra, Miss J. 
A. Williams, teacher, wages $35, enrolled 10, 
present 7, good frame building. 

District No. 87, Good Thunder Village, 0. 
A. Benedict, teacher, wages $40, enrolled 43, 
present 26, rented room. 

District No. 98, Lyra, Miss Ida Long, teach- 
er, wages $25, enrolled 21, present 13, unfinished 
frame building. 

District No. 73, Lower Agency in MePher- 
son, Morris Wilkins, teacher, wages $40, en- 
rolled 52, present 37, good new frame build- 

District No. 70, Upper Agency, McPherson, 
Frank Wilkins, teacher, wages $45, enrolled 
47, present 28, poor frame building. 

District No. 96, McPherson, J. L. Burgess, 
teacher, wages $37.50, enrolled 22, present 16, 
log building. 

District No. 71, Medo and McPherson, David 
Eastman, teacher, wages $40, enrolled 49, pres- 
ent 28, poor log building. 

District No. 69, Medo, T. A. Leighton, 
teacher, wages $30, enrolled 27, present 18, 
poor frame building. 

District No. 58, Medo, B. F. Stedman, 
teacher, wages $36.25, enrolled 34, present 26, 
primitive log building, sixth term for this 
teacher at this school. 

District No. 61, Medo, James Patterson, 
teacher, wages $35, enrolled 40, present 24, 
good frame building. 

District No. 124, McPherson, Miss Eliza 

Wilson, teacher, wages $30, enrolled 19, pres- 
ent 20, good frame building. 

District No. 69, McPherson, Julius L. Daw- 
ley, teacher, wages $35, enrolled 26, present 20, 
good frame building. 

District No. 57, Medo, Mr. Abner, teacher, 
not in session. 

District No. 59, Medo, Miss Helen Comstock 
teacher, not in session. 

District No. 33, Sterling, Miss Abbington 
DeWolf teacher, wages $30, enrolled 26, pres- 
ent 13, frame building, out of repair, used to 
be for years one of the best districts, but had 
been weakened by loss of territory. 

District No. 102, Sterling, P. V. Goff, teacher, 
wages $40, enrolled 38, present 23, log house. 

District No. 36, Mapleton, Wm. Plymat 
teacher, wages $28.50, enrolled 21, frame build- 
ing out of repair. 

District No. 34, Mapleton, Miss Mary A. 
Dobie, teacher, wages $30, enrolled 40, present 
20, large frame building. 

District No. 105, Mapleton Station, Miss 
Nettie Lambie, teacher, wages $35, enrolled 
37, present 24, good frame building. 

District No. 30, Sterling, Miss Rebecca Dobie, 
teacher, wages $30, enrolled 50, present 33, 
large frame building. 

District No. 31, Sterling Center, Miss Viola 
Hill, teacher, wages $35, enrolled 36, present 
25, very poor frame building. 

District No. 54, Sterling, Allen Benedict, 
■Leacher, wages $40, enrolled 14, present 11, 
poor log building. 

District No. 102, Sterling, W. H. Butler, 
teacher, wages $38, enrolled 42, present 33, 
poor log building, one of best schools in county. 

District No. Il2, Shelby, Merrit Turner, 
teacher, good frame building, small school and 

District No. 24, Village of Vernon Center, 
Miss Nettie M. Crane, teacher, good school. 

District No. 77, South Bend Township, 
Franklin Ensign, teacher, wages $35, enrolled 
22, present 6, poor log building. 

The following districts were visited in June, 
1873. We give first number of district, where 
located, name of teacher, number of scholars, 
enrolled, and lastly kind of school house: 


No. 4, South Bend Village, B. Ferrick, $40, 
40, good frame built last year. 

No. 133, Garden City, Miss Lulu E. Green- 
wood, $35, 14. 

No. 20, Butterfield Mill, Alice J. Crane, 
$27, 32. 

No. 14, Ceresco, Miss Lizzie J. Delany, $35, 

No. 74, Ceresco, Miss Myra Sharratt, $25, 15. 

No. 83, Pleasant Mound, Mrs. J. B. Mc- 
Donald, $16.67, 35. 

No. Ill, Pleasant Mound, j\Iiss Abbie L. 
Price, $32, 18. 

No. 106, Garden City, Miss Mary J. Ply- 
mat, $30. 

No. 56, Mapleton, Miss Flora Annis, $19, 18. 

No. 35, Mapleton, Miss Maggie Hanna, $24 
and board, 33. 

No. 95, Beauford, Miss Anna Uhleg, $25, 
36, very poor log building. 

No. 89, Lincoln, Miss Lou Boughton, $30, 
40, brick. 

No. 15, Lincoln, F. A. Mosher, $28, 25. 

No. 119, Lincoln, Miss Katie Meixell, $28, 

No. 115, Butternut Valley, Miss Anna 
Lloyd, $38, 33. 

No. 13, Butternut Valley, Frank Piper, $30, 

No. 144, Butternut Valley, Miss Mary C. 
Jones, $23, 45. 

No. 78, Butternut Valley, Miss Maggie Bow- 
en, $28, 38. 

No. 11, Cambria, G. H. Claggat, $35, 64, 
large frame. 

No. 99, Judson, Miss Lizzie Williams, $26, 
39, frame. 

No. 85, Judson, Miss Tryphena Lewis, $28, 
46, frame. 

During the winter of 1872-3 a large number 
of lodges of Patrons of Husbandry (or 
"Granges," as they were generally called) were 
organized all over the county. Major A. J. 
ilurphy was perhaps the most active in form- 
ing them. No society ever grew more rapidly 
among our people than this farmers' associa- 
tion. In a few months it had spread into 
every township and neighborhood in the county. 
On April 18, 1873, a council of the • Blue 

Earth County Granges met at Lake Crystal, 
and a series of market or fair days were estab- 
lished as follows : Lake Crystal in May, Gar- 
den City in June, Mankato in July, and Good 
Thunder in October. On July 4th of this year 
monster celebrations were held by these farmer 
clubs at Lake Cr\'stal and Mapleton. The 
lodges participating in the Lake Crystal pro- 
gram were : Lake Crystal, Madoc, Gopher, 
Albion, Watonwan, Lincoln, Winger, Garden 
City, Ceresco, Eapidan, Hebron, Eureka, Hes- 
peridan. Butternut, Castle Garden, Cambria, 
and Sterling. Between 1,000 and 1,200 mem- 
bers marched in the procession, all dressed in 
their regalia. This consisted of a Nankeen 
pouch or bag tied on the right side, a picture 
of a plow (the emblem of the order) on the 
flap, and beneath, the name and number of 
the lodge. A sash of the same material trim- 
med with red tape was worn across the breast, 
and in case of officers an initial letter indi- 
cating the position was worn on the sash. The 
lady members wore pretty white aprons and 
sashes, both trimmed with red tape, and gen- 
erally they were dressed in white. Each grange 
in the procession was headed by its officers and 
carried banners and flags appropriately in- 
scribed. Col. J. H. Stevens, editor of the 
"Farmers' Union," was orator of the day at 
Lake Crystal. At Mapleton the grangers were 
also out in force. About 1.200 to 1,500 per- 
sons were present there and Maj. A. C. Woolfork 
of Mankato delivered the address. 

The matter of building the two railroads, 
one from Mankato to Wells, and the other up 
the Blue Earth from Mankato to Blue Earth 
City, were very live issues again this year. On 
February 27, 1873, Lyra voted $15,000 bonus 
to the Wells road by a majority of one in a 
poll of 107. April 1, Mankato voted $70,000 
in bonus to the Wells road and $35,000 to 
the Blue Earth City branch. April Srd, Maple- 
ton voted $12,500 bonus to the Wells Eailway. 
These amounts were in lieu of the former 
bonuses voted a year or two before, which had 
in some way fallen tliroup:]!. Beauford and 
^^I.ankato townships defeated their bonus prop- 
ositions ; but this only resulted in a little more 
agitation and another election, when a favor- 
able vote was secured. 


The deep snow of the previous winter brought not the only fakir they met. There was the 

the usual floods in the spring and the mills "Norway Oats" man, the "Eed Osaka" and 

along the Watonwan and Blue Earth suffered "Lost Nation" wheat men, and this and that 

greatly, and many of the owners rendered al- potato wonder, which were worth a fortune 

most bankrupt by their losses. when bought, but of little value thereafter. 

About the first of June, 1873, a German But a worse foe was at hand than the Blue 
newspaper called the "Mankato Beobachter" Earth County farmer had ever met before. 
(Observer) was started by Ludwig Schramm. In August, 1873, the grasshoppers began to 
During the same month a new postoffice was rppear in the Northwest towns of the county 
established in McPherson, under the name of in large numbers and at once began their 
"Belleview" with J. D. Hawkins as postmaster, work of destruction. Much damage was done 
and the name of "Speier" postoffice changed to in these towns to late crops this year, but we 
"Eagle Lake," and H. Bosard, who kept a shall hear more about them later, 
store near the railway station of that name, ap- In September, 1873, an unfortunate trouble 
pointed postmaster. Another postofEice was arose in the Normal School over the action of 
established in December at Vernon Center by the board in superceding Miss J. A. Sears, who 
the name of "Mj^rna" with Thos. Perkins as had acted as superintendent for a year. Thirty- 
postmaster, service to begin January 1st, 1874. six students took Miss Sears' part and seceded 

Statistics gathered by the assessors showed from the school, breaking up its work badly, 

that in 1872 there were 3,166 farms in Blue Miss Sears was a very capable woman, and 

Earth County, 54,305 acres were sowed to had filled the position of superintendent with 

wheat, from which 949,318 bushels were pro- great acceptance, especially to the students, 

dueed, 16,081 acres to oats, which produced The latter, therefore, protested most vigorously 

537,447 bushels, 7,393 acres of corn, which pro- against the action of the Normal Board in 

duced 390,394 bushels. Within the ten or fif- turning her down simply because she was a 

teen years just past great improvements had woman, and putting a man at the head. In 

been made in farm machinery. When the pio- those days the school had a large number of 

neers of our county began raising farm products voung men among its patrons, and amon^ 

all grain had to be sowed bv hand and cut with them some strong characters like C. H. Piper 

a cradle, then came the old hand rake reaper, and Frank Piper and a number of others. They 

and after it the selfrake reaper and the dropper, nossessed independent thought and were not 

By 1872 and 1873 other improvements came, afraid to stand bv their convictions. The most 

in the way of seeders for sowing, and harvesters of the bovs never returned to the Mankato 

to cut and bind the ripened grain, two men be- Normal, hut some got into business and others 

ing carried alon? with the machine to tie up went to Carleton College and other schools, 

the bundles. These labor saving contrivances The newly elected president of the Normal, 

enabled the farmers to greatly enlarge their Prof. John, thouarh he was in no way to blame, 

fields. A list of the reapinEc machines sold in found the position in which circumstances put 

our county in 1873 will indicate how extensive him rather awkward, and resigned after a few 

the competition in such machinery was. It in- years. 

eluded the McCormick. Marsh Harvester, Kirby, During the winter of 1873-4 a lecture course 
Excelsior Dropper, Massillion Harvester, Buck- was srotten up at Mankato. which brought 
eve, Osborne. Woods Peaners. Edwards, Esterlv. thither for two or three winters some of the 
Advance Harvester, J. P. Manny Peaper. and best talent in the country. Snrh stars as Hon. 
Madison Harvester. The debts incurred in buy- Geo. S. Boutwell. Mary A. Livermore, Men- 
ins: such costly machinery and the hazzards of delsohn Club of Boston, Wendell Phillips, and 
■^heat raising drove many a venturous farmer Gen. Kilpatrick, who appeared the first season, 
en the financial rocks, hut others were more and Bavard Taylor, John 'B. Gousrh, Henrv 
fortunate. Then the lightning rod man was Ward Beecher, Eev, Edward Eggleston, Hon. 



Henry Wilson, Carl Sehurz, Dr. John G. Hol- 
land, Helen Potter and others followed. 

During 1873 the Mankato Driving Park Asso- 
ciation was formed and secured grounds on the 
Brooks farm just north of Mankato, where the 
admirers of good horses had many a meet. 

The first directory of Mankato was published, 
also, this year. The Winona and St. Peter 
Eailway Company passed through the best tim- 
ber region in the county and the wood and 
lumber business of the road at once became an 
important factor. During January, 1874, 20,000 
cords of wood were delivered along the line of 
the road. But we shall have more to say about 
this industry later. 

On Feb. 1, 1874, an important change took 
place in the affairs of the Catholic Church of 
Mankato. An agreement was entered into be- 
tween the church and the Jesuit Brotherhood, 
whose headquarters in this country is at Buffalo, 
N. Y., whereby the latter were put- in charge of 
the services of the church. The parish had 
grown too great for a single pastor, and it was 
a wise plan to put it into the hands of an order, 
who could supply all the men necessary to do the 
work properly. 

The people who settled our county were a re- 
ligious people and they built alters to the God 
of their fathers in every community. They were 
divided into many nationalities, and religious de- 
nominations, but on the whole all possessed the 
virtues of a noble Christian character. Our 
population as a class, both American and For- 
eign, was made up of the salt of the earth, men 
who feared God and worked righteousness. Of 
the many churches and schools they founded and 
built we shall speak more in detail, in the annals 
of the various towns. We may note, however, 
that in the early 70's the land had been mostly 
divided among the various tribes and national- 
ities'. The north half of the city of Mankato 
together with Mankato and Lime Townships, 
were settled almost wholly by Germans, mostly 
of the Catholic faith. Some Lutherans, Turners, 
Evangelical and Methodists were sprinkled among 
them, their numbers corresponding to the order 
named. In McPherson, Mapleton, and the north 
half of Beauford the German Catholics predomi- 
nated, with many German Lutherans among 

them and a few Methodists. In Lyra, Eapidan 
and Decoria the German Lutherans predominat- 
ed, but there was quite a number of German 
Catholics among them, especially in Lyra. Dan- 
ville was now fast becoming a German town. 
They were mostly of the Methodist and Luth- 
eran faith, but had a large and influential Cath- 
olic element in the southern part of the town. 
Pleasant Mound and the north half of Ceresco 
was, also, fast becoming a solid settlement of 
German Lutherans. The towns of South Bend, 
Judson, Cambria and the north half of Butter- 
nut Valley were occupied by the Welsh very 
early. Lake Crystal and Mankato also contained 
many of this nationality. They were mostly Cal- 
vinistic Methodists, a denomination nearly allied 
to the Presbyterians. This denomination had 
seven or eight churches among them, the Con- 
gregationalist two, and there were a few Bap- 
tist and Wesleyan families. The Norwegians 
were occupying the south half of Butternut Val- 
ley and the northwest portion of Lincoln, the 
west half of Sterling and some of the east part 
of Shelbj', the most of Medo, a strip along the 
west end of Eapidan, and the portions of Eapi- 
dan and Decoria, which lie in the vicinity of 
\he mouths of the Maple and Cobb rivers. Quite 
a number of them also reside at Lake Crystal 
and Mankato. They too are a very religious 
people and belong almost exclusively to the 
Lutheran faith and have many churches. Among 
them, as among the Germans, there are two 
synods of the Lutheran church, which 
nearly amount to two denominations. The 
old doctrine of the Free Will is really at 
the bottom of their differences. In the south- 
east comer of Lincoln and dipping over a 
little into Garden City a colony of Swedish 
Baptists had located. On the Judson bot- 
tom were a few Swedish Lutherans, while at 
the City of Mankato many Swedish people reside. 
The majority are of the Lutheran faith, but 
the Congregational, Baptist and M. E. have 
churches among them. The Irish took posses- 
sion of Jamestown, of the northerly portion of 
Ceresco, of the southwest comer of Lyra, a strip 
on the line between Beauford and Lyra and the 
northwest corner of DanviUe. Mankato contains, 
also, quite a number of the Sons and Daughters 



of Erin; while McPhxerson and other towns have 
a few families. As a rule they are of the Catho- 
lic faith. In the eastern part of Sterling, and 
crossing the line into Mapleton and in Mapleton 
Village and with a few scattering families in 
Beanford, the trihe of Scotland might be found. 
Garden City, Vernon Center and Shelby were 
mostly settled by Americans and a majority of 
the other towns haJ more or less American set- 
tlers. These lines of demarkation between the 
various nationalities still remain quite distinct, 
but already intermarriage, the public schools, the 
press, the demands of business are beginning to 
beat down the lines of separation and before long 
all will be welded into a homogenous whole, the 
future American. 

During the early 70's there was much activity 
throughout the county in Sunday school matters, 
and conventions were held each year. A report, 
not far from being complete so far as the Eng- 
lish speaking schools were concerned, and cov- 
ering a few of the foreign schools, showed there 
were in the county, fifty-three Sunday schools, 
four hundred and forty-one officers and teachers 
and two thousand five hundred and sixty scholars. 

In March, 1874, the Mankato Woolen Manu- 
facturing Company was organized by Christian 
Eoos, Jacob Bierbauer, A ISTeumayer, Thos. Ben- 
nett and J. P. Meagher. 

The summer of 1874 was very dry and windy 
and many fires caused thereby and much &ax 
burned. The establishment of the oil mill at 
Mankato had greatly encouraged the production 
of flax all over the county. 

The grasshoppers were quite numerous this 
year in the northwestern portion of the county 
and fully half of the crops were destroyed by 
them. A severe hailstorm in June swept through 
Cambria, Butternut Valley and Judson and took 
about all the grasshoppers had not yet had 
time to finish. 

The grangers held another big celebration on 
July 4th of this year at Good Thunder, where 
Hon. William Windom was the orator. 

About the last of July, 1874, the first load of 
iron was received for the Wells road and the 
work of laying the track began. By September 
29th, daily trains were running to Good Thun- 
der and on November 17, 1874, a celebration of 

the completion of the road to Wells was held. 
Other events of the year at Mankato were: The 
building of Turner's hall (afterwards called 
Union Hall and now transformed to the Hein- 
rich Hotel), and the sale of the "Mankato Un- 
ion" on September 11th by W. B. Griswold to 
J. K. Cleveland, and of the Beobaehter by 
Schramm to J. M. Broome of New Ulm. The 
city, also, entered in September into a contract 
with a Chicago firm, named Spangler, Marrs 
and Miller, to sink an artesian well four inches 
in diameter. The well was dug to depth of 
2,204 feet and then abandoned. Had it been 
properly cased and cared for, it doubtless would 
have been successful. It was one of the deepest 
holes ever dug in the State, and was therefore of 
considerable interest to the geologist. The water 
rose in it within 71% feet of the top, but a leak 
occurred near this point. It cost the city 
$12,000 to dig it, and $1,568 was paid for the 
land, which today constitutes Highland Park. 

In June, 1874, Mankato voted $10,000 bonds 
to build the Eranklin school house. Garden City 
also built during the summer a new two story 
school building. 

The assessors returns for June, 1874, showed 
the following live stock statistics: Horses, 7,007; 
cattle, 16,065; sheep, 6,153, hogs, 5,186. There 
were 42,010 apple trees growing in the county 
and 820 bushels of apples raised and 5,980 
pounds of grapes. In 1875 Blue Earth County 
ranked fifth in the State in dairy produce and 
was first in the production of honey, having 702 
hives and 15,666 pounds of honey. It, also, 
raised the most com of any county, amounting 
to 457,991 bushels. 

At the November election Judge F. H. Waite, 
who had resigned his position as District Judge,- 
in order to run for Congress as an Independent 
candidate, was beaten by M. H. Dunnell, the 
Eepublican nominee, but by a majority of only 
2,986, which was about one-third the usual fig- 
ure. D. A. Dickinson, the Eepublican nominee, 
was elected Judge of the District Court, over 
Daniel Buck. The Democrats succeeded in 
electing their share of the county officers. 

During 1874 ten new school houses were built 
in the county at a cost of $21,216, showing the 
growth of educational facilities. 



The saw mill industry of the county was now 
nearly at its best. The great timber section 
covering its northeast quarter was full of saw 
mills. The Dickinson mill by Hoosier Lake, 
the Fredericks and Hodapp mill, and the Whit- 
rock mill in the vicinity of the poor farm, the 
Bennett and Harvey mill at Tivoli, the Morse 
mill on outlet of Lake Madison, the Woodham 
Mill, owned then by Burgess & Picket on the 
outlet of Eagle Lake, the Lamphear mill on In- 
dian Lake in LeEay, the Stokes mill at Smith's 
Mill, the Forster mill at north end of Eagle 
Lake, the Saylor mill in Jamestown, the Boegen 
mill at Mankato, the two mills at Winnebago 
Agency, one or two at Eagle Lake and many 
others that do not now occur to us were busy 
manufacturing lumber. Eagle Lake was now 
beginning to be somewhat of a village, the prin- 
cipal center of the wood and lumber business. 
In January, 1874, a newspaper was started there 
by A. H. Wheeler, under the name of "The 
Golden Prize" which ran for about a year and 

then was sold under the sheriS's hammer to 
Horace Cummins. 

In February, 1875, a new post ofEice was 
created at Mapleton station with the old pioneer, 
Eobert Taylor, as postmaster. Early in August 
another postofEice was created in Medo, called 
"Little Cobb," with Wm. Germo as postmaster. 

On March 1st, 1874, the Welsh held one of 
their big "Eisteddfod's" at Turners Hall, Man- 
kato. This is a literary and musical festival 
of a competitive character, usually held once a 
year. It had been held for two or three years 
before this. On March 17th, the Irish brother- 
hood celebrated St. Patricks day at Mankato 
with a good literary program. 

During this year the Catholics under the lead- 
ership of the Jesuit brotherhood, always active 
in educational work, built their fine school build- 
ing at Mankato. It is of brick, 150 feet long by 
60 feet wide, and three stories high. It was 
completed by October 1, 1876, and dedicated 
with appropriate exercises by Bishop Ireland. 

SC800t-3>lST.NSlo9-RftPiO«N OJOODraeWS HftLL-RflPIDAW seRmflN t(JT«fcRfl« CHURCH-RftPlDflM 

Nonajeoiftri (.uthcraN church 





Tiie winter of 1874-5 was yery cold with deep 
snow, and the high water in AprU again did 
great havoc to the water mills, especially along 
the Watonwan. The flour mills of Butterfield & 
Co., Capwell & Co., Quayle & Eriend, Willard 
& Rodgers, Hopkins & Dilly and others suffered 
several thousand dollars in damages. 

With . the opening of spring the grasshoppers 
began hatching in countless millions over most 
of the west half of the county and it was evi- 
dent that the crops in that section were again 
doomed. It was getting to be a serious question 
what to do to rid the country of this scare. On 
the 3rd of June, 1875, the County Commissioners 
met and passed a resolution offering a bounty 
of ten cents a quart for all grasshoppers caught 
and brought to designated places in each town 
to be measured and destroyed. The people went 
to work with a will, with all sorts of contrivances 
for catching the pests. The most common plan 
was to rig a large net with sheets tacked to a 
light frame work, which was pushed over the 
field by hand or dragged by one horse. The 
farmers found they had a snap. Some were 
making - over $30.00 per day. In three days 
over 4,000 bushels were caught and $14,000 had 
been paid out. Monday morning, June 7th, the 
County Commissioners were hurriedly called to- 
gether, for at such a rate the county would soon 
be bankrupt. The bounty was now cut one half, 
but the farmers were bringing in such an enor- 
mous quantity of hoppers, that the board was 
obliged on June 11th to cut the price to sixty cents 
per bushel, and on June 12 to withdraw the 
bounty altogether. In nine days the County 
had paid $31,255.66 for 15,766 bushels and 
eighteen quarts of grasshoppers. It was esti- 
mated that each bushel contained on an average 

130,000 hoppers. The station at Garden City 
issued the largest amount of orders $5,727.78, 
the city of Mankato came next with $4,606.16, 
Judson $4,404.48, South Bend $3,916.75. James- 
town only paid out thirty cents, McPherson 
$6.38 and Beauford $1.10, showing the eastern 
towns were not much infected. At Mankato the 
place for receiving the grasshoppers was about 
where the city hall now stands. A large vat 
of boiling water was kept in readiness, into 
A\hich the bags-full of hoppers were emptied for 
their destruction, and their carcasses were then 
dumped into a long trench, which had been 
dug close by for their burial. In spite of this 
wholesale destruction of the pest, it did not seem 
to diminish their number in the least. Bounty 
or no bounty the farmers made a desperate and 
heroic struggle to save their crops. Trenches 
were dug about fields, which had not yet been 
infested, in the hope that the young hoppers 
could not pass over, a stream of tar was poured 
about them. Infected, fields were covered with a 
tliin coating of dry straw and burned, brine was 
sprinkled over them, a machine called the "hop- 
per dozer'' v,-as invented and put upon the mar- 
ket, and home made devises of all sorts were used 
and the insects caught and destroyed by the bil- 
lions, but all availed nothing. The very dust 
seemed alive with the pest. Rapidan called a 
lown meeting on June 35, and voted $1,500.00 
to be used in the destruction of grasshoppers 
within its boundaries. But every effort was in 
vain, the larger part of the crops in the wes- 
tern half of the county were entirely destroyed. 
They completely covered every green thing. 
The trees were full of them, the very houses were 
plastered with them, one could not step anywhere 
without crushing them under foot, and they 




would crawl into one's clothing. It was indeed 
an Egyptian plague. The chickens ate them but 
they affected the eggs, flavoring and discolor- 
ing them, the birds and the hogs also feasted upon 
them, but nothing diminishing their number. 
As the summer advanced they gained their 
wings and the air was full of them, some days 
almost hiding the sun. During the fall they laid 
their eggs far and wide over this and adjoin- 
ing counties. Many farmers plowed their fields 
and then dragged them thoroughly in the hope 
of destroying the eggs. The winter of 18'i'5-6 
was rather mild and it was thought that the al- 
ternate thawing and freezing would have a bale- 
ful effect upon them. All winter long pans of 
earth were carried into the houses to experiment 
v/ith, but every test showed the pest to be as vir- 
ulent as ever. The counties of Kicollet, Brown, 
'Watonwan and many others were devastated fully 
as much, and even more than Blue Earth. The 
Legislature in February, 1876, passed a bill ap- 
propriating $15,637.83 to reimburse Blue Earth 
County for bounty paid for destruction of grass- 
ho|)pers. Bills were also passed for the relief of 
the farmers in the matter of seed wheat. 

While most of the farmers seeded their land 
again, some refrained, deeming it useless. The 
grasshoppers were fully as numerous as ever dur- 
ing the summer of 1876, and nearly all of the 
west half of the county was devastated by them, 
as well as all the country to the westward. The 
people again waged a heroic fight in defense of 
iheir fields, but to no avail. Conventions and- 
town meetings were held to discuss ways and 
means for ridding the country of the terrible 
scourge. The preservation of the birds, the rais- 
ing of more chickens, the cultivation of a small 
red parasite, and the destruction of the eggs, 
were among the principal remedies proposed. 
October 10, 1876, the town of Shelby voted to 
tax each man three days work in plowing and 
harrowing the ground to kill the eggs. As indi- 
cating li'^w thick the grasshoppers were, a train 
on the St. Paul and Sioux Eoad on July 18, 
1876, was stopped by them near Hersey in No- 
bles county, the wheels and rails had become so 
smeared by their bodies that they slipped and 
bad to be cleaned. Trains on the same road 
were stopped in Lime town in Blue Earth county 

by the same cause. The winter of 1876-7 was 
very mild again, and a number of farmers sowed 
their grain in February. Hatching grasshop- 
pers by the stove was the principal occupation 
of this winter to test the eggs, and to see if 
the young hoppers were as healthy as their pro- 
genitors and to discover how many a bushel of 
earth would produce. It is needless to say that 
the hoppers stood well in every test. 

In March, 1877, the Legislature passed a bill 
giving a bounty of $1.00 per bushel for grass- 
hoppers caught prior to May 25, fifty cents 
for all caught after that date to June 10, twenty- 
five cents thereafter to July 1, and twenty cents 
to October. Every township and village was, 
also, authorized to levy a tax for the de- 
struction of the pests, and every male inhabitant 
between the ages of twenty and sixty years 
Avas to be assessed by the supervisors one day's 
work for each week, for not to exceed five weeks, 
to be applied under the direction of the Path- 
masters for the destruction of the grasshoppers 
and their eggs. The work to be done much after 
the manner of our poll tax. The county was 
also authorized to employ persons having patent 
machinery for killing grasshoppers. $100,000.00 
was appropriated to carry out the provisions of 
the act, and a bill passed authorizing a state 
loan for the purpose. Bills were also passed for 
the relief of grasshopper sufferers, who were un- 
able to pay taxes or pay interest on state lands. 

With the opening of Spring (1877) the grass- 
hoppers appeared as numerous as ever. In 
many places they were so thick that they might 
have been literally shoveled from the ground. 
Dry, warm, sandy soil was their preference. 
Many farmers desisted from sowing their lands, 
when they saw them hatching out again. The 
people though discouraged, still kept up the fight 
ivith ditches, wet ashes, and fire, gathering them 
in canvass hoppers, in nets smeared on the 
inside with tar, and with "Hopper dozers" (a 
contrivance made of sheet iron with tar inside). 
But all this did not seem to diminish the num- 
ber. The people in their bitter extremity ap- 
pealed to the Governor to proclaim a day of fast- 
ing and prayer and April 26, 1877, was duly 
appointed as such a day. The day was gen- 
erally observed. All business was suspended 



as though it were Sunday, and the people gath- 
ered in their churches throughout the land. 
Earnest appeals were made for Divine help by 
Catholic and Protestant alike. The Catholic 
church at Mankato prolonged the services for 
three days. Whether in answer to prayer or from 
natural causes, it is a singular fact that after 
this public appeal to the Almighty the grasshop- 
pers began immediately to be troabled. Disease 
broke out among them and many died, while 
others were stunted in their growth. There were 
a number of heavy rains, and on June 10, 
there was a heavy frost, all of which seemed 
lo effect the locusts unfavorably. They did not 
attack the gardens and fields with anythiug of 
their old time vigor, and as soon as their wings 
were developed, on June 23, and 35, 1877, the 
great masses of them arose high in the air and 
flew away, no one ever knew whither. The com- 
paratively few that remained, as their wings de- 
veloped, did likewise, until by July 1, nearly all 
were gone. Still on sunny days the air con- 
tinued full of stragglers, like flakes of snow 
in a winter storm the sky would swarm with 
them until August. Tor flve consecutive years 
many of the farmers of our county had lost 
nearly all of their crops, and for four years 
the most of the western half and portions of 
the eastern half had been completely devastated 
by this awful scourge. That their departure was 
a direct answer to prayer may not be positively 
affirmed, but neither can it be strongly denied. 
To say the least there was a singular coincidence 
between the day of prayer and the disappearance 
of the pest so soon thereafter. The going of the 
destructive hcrdes was a great relief to the im- 
poverished people, and with fresh courage they 
bravely went to work to retrieve their shattered 

Going back to 1876, we note a few events in 
our history beside the ravages of grasshoppers. 
Two new postoffices were created, in the county 
this year, one in January at Rapidan station, 
with Noah Webster in charge, and the other 
in July at the home of Henry Stiemagle in 

On February 23, 1876, occurred the killing 
of Mrs. Jane Gilbert by Andrew Weston in 
Medo, which resulted in a hard fought murder 

trial in our court. Weston was finally convicted 
and sentenced to State prison. 

Duriug this summer the caterpillar pest ap- 
peared in the tiiuber area of LeEay, Lime, and 
Mankato Townships, and much of the foliage 
destroyed by them and some of the trees killed. 
They continued their devastations for two or 
three years. 

It being centennial year a big Fourth of July 
celebration was held at Mankato. The Old Sol- 
diers, the Mankato and Owatonna Fireman, The 
Danish, Swede, and Norwegian societies, were 
features, in the parade, and senator Wilkinson 
delivered the address. There was an immense 
crowd present. The people of Pleasant Mound 
and vicinity held a celebration of their own, at 
Wilder's grove, on Willow Creek. 

On September 7, 1876, occurred the Northfield 
Bank robbery by the James and Younger gang. 
Tiiese desperadoes had visited Mankato a few 
days before, with intent of looting one of its 
banks. In their retreat they passed through 
our county and were seen in ilankato Township 
by G. P. Hoerr and Sebastian Kopp. They cross- 
ed the Blue Earth river on the St. Paul and 
Omaha railway bridge at night, while a posse 
Ai'as guarding the wagon bridge, and it ^as main- 
ly through the efforts of Capt. A. J. j\[urphy of 
Lake Crystal, that they were finally captured 
near Madelia. 

In the fall of 1876, Henry and Fred Boegen 
enlarged their saw mill at the city of Mankato. 
In Mankato township Capt. N. W. Dickerson 
transformed his saw mill into a large new steam 
saw and grist mill, which under the name of 
''White Star Mills'' rendered good service for 
some time. 

The Burns Celebration in Sterling, and St. 
Patricks day at Mapleton had now become fixed 
feasts, which were annually observed. 

While the grange movement was dying out 
elsewhere over the county, it still continued to 
flourish in Danville and Shelby Townships. The 
Shelbyville grange under C. W. Herrman, as 
master, and J. F. Stock, as secretary, and the 
Woodland grange under F. Berut as Master and 
J. A. Lattimer as secretary formed a trade un- 
ion and bought most of their goods at wholesale 
prices of Chicago and St. Paul houses, A. L. 



Stephens acted as purchasing agent for a long 
time. The grange organization continued actiye 
in Danville, also, and monthly meetings were held 
at Mr. Thompson's home. They, also, were reg- 
ular patrons of the grange supply house of Chi- 

During the seventies there was a strong tem- 
perance sentiment over most of the county. Good 
Templar lodges flourished in every village. The 
Red Ribbon movement started about 1877, and 
grew rapidly in favor. In those years "No li- 
cense" carried a number of times in Mapleton, 
Good Thunder, Winnebago Agency and Lake 
Crystal as well in Eagle Lake, Garden City and 

In June, 1877, the proposition to settle the 
old State Railway bonds of 1857 was submitted 
to the voters. Our county had voted against 
the bonds originally and now defeated the settle- 
ment proposition by a vote of 2,259 to 511. 

In the fall of 1877 Mankato built its present 
City hall at a cost of $8,395.00. Masonic block at 
Mankato was also completed and the hall ded- 
icated. On September 1, 1877, Geo. W. Neff 
bought the "Mankato Union" of W. B. Gris- 
wold, and, about the same time, A. M. Morrison 
(then teaching school at Eagle Lake) and W. 
J. Clark purchased of Horace Cummins the 
printing outfit, which had belonged to Mr. Wheel- 
er and started the "Eagle Lake Independent," 
which was published for a short time. 

On November 1, 1877, within five minutes of 
the noon hour occurred the only earth quake 
shock ever felt in the county. The fall of 1877 
^\as extremely fine. Farmers were plowing on 
Christmas day, and even on December 29, a num- 
ber of neighbors in Jamestown made a plow- 
ing bee for a sick friend. The weather con- 
tinued very mild the winter through, with 
hardly any snow. Like many an open winter 
it was not very healthy. The small pox was quite 
prevalent over the county, but there were few 
fatalities, as the disease was very mild in cliai 
acter. Much more deadly was the epidemic of 
diphtheria, which swept over the county during 
this and the following winter, carrying away 
scores of children and youth. During 1879 
there were forty-nine deaths from this disease 

in our county, in 1880 there were twenty-two, 
and in 1881, twenty-nine. 

On February 23, 1878, an act was passed 
by the Legislature incorporating the village of 
Mapleton, and David Smith, James E. Brown 
and L. Troendle were authorized to call the first 
corporate meeting. This was done for March 
19, when the following officers were elected: 
President of Board of Trustees, Joel Gates; 
Trustees, Lucius Toendle, James McLaughlin 
and C. H. Wicks; Treasurer, Sherman Peet; 
Recorder, P. A. Foster; Justice, C. W. Smith; 
Constable, Henry Tenney. At the same time 
the village became an independent school dis- 
trict and built a new school house. 

An important event for the city of Mankato 
and our county was the erection by R. D. Hub- 
bard, Wm. Pearson and George M. Palmer of 
what is known as the Hubbard Flour mill, the 
ground for which was broken on April 22, 
1878, and the mill completed October 1, 1879. 

During this summer (1878) John 6. Graham 
built at Good Thunder his hotel and hall. 

One who rendered good service in the develop- 
ment of band music in the county was Prof. 
Howe of Mankato. During the seventies he or- 
ganized bands at Mapleton, Good Thunder, Lake 
Crystal, Mankato and other points in the county, 
and did much in training the musical talent of 
our young men. Another musical genius, who 
helped to develop the skill of our young people 
in playing upon string and wind instruments 
was Wm. Matthews. Among those who did 
much in cultivating vocal music were: in the 
early period, Edward Thomas of South Bend, 
and Edson Gerry of Garden City ; and in the 
seventies. Prof. Brett, A. Neumayer and Wei- 
gel of Mankato. 

During 1878 there was much immigration in- 
to our own county, and the counties to our west. 
The grasshopper scourge had for a few years 
stopped entirely the tide of immigration, but now 
that this calamity was over the settlers came in 
larger numbers than ever before. Eleven Nor- 
wegian families located in Medo alone. It was 
no uncommon sight to see one hundred canvass 
topped wagons passing up Front street in one 
day. The spring and summer of 1878 were rather 



wet, and this, coupled with the fact that the 
land had been given a long rest because 
of the grasshoppers, caused the grain to grow too 
rank and the crop this year was small in quanti- 
ty and poor in quality. 

In June, 1878, the Sunday schools of the 
southwest portion of the county held a union 
picnic at ShelbyvUle, and on July 4th, an old 
settler's picnic met in the grove of Erastus Eeed 
in Shelby. On July 30, 1878, a number of the 
Good Templar lodges held a large picnic at the 
Ellis grove in Sterling. These social functions 
indicate some of the things the people in the 
south part of our county were then interested in. 

During this and the following summer there 
was much talk and agitation over the proposi- 
tion of the St. Paul & Sioux City Eailway build- 
ing a branch from some point on their main 
line southward through Blue Earth City to 
the Iowa line. Mankato wanted this branch 
to start from her gates, and pass by the Eapidan 
water power, but the engineers' survey favored 
a route from Lake Crystal as much more prac- 
tical and economical, for the bit of country be- 
tween Mankato and the Eapidan Mills is rather 
rugged for railroad building. The proposi- 
tion to give this branch $10,000 bonus was 
defeated at an election held in Shelby on July 
35, 1878, by a vote of eighty to twenty-five 
mainly because of the uncertainty as to whether 
the depot would be located at Shelbyville 
or elsewhere. After this the railroad authorities 
showed no great interest in the project during 
the rest of that fall and winter. But the peo- 
ple along the route became anxious, and in 
April, 1879, delegations of citizens were sent 
to interview the railway officials at St. Paul, 
from Garden City, Vernon and Shelby. The 
delegates from Garden City were: C. B. Frazer 
Eev. J. Eockwood, Hon. J. G. Thompson and 
T. B. Church; from Vernon Center, P. H. 
Tubbs, T. B. Francis, T. S. Hays, A. M. Han- 
nay, Peter Mertesdorff and A. C. Wilber; and 
from Shelby, Geo. Quiggle, Thos. J. Cross, I. 
H. Darling and John C. Noble. Prompt action 
on the matter of bonus was taken and on April 
33 Garden City voted $13,500, by a majority of 
fifty-five in a vote of 307, Vernon also voted 
$10,000 by a vote of ninety-two to sixty-five. 

but the bonus was again defeated in Shelby by 
a vote of 130 to 53. This defeat was due to 
the same cause as the first. The road however, 
was built during the summer and fall of this 
year (1879) and completed the next spring to 
Elmore. The Commissioners appointed to ap- 
praise the damages for right of way were Clark 
Keysor, Henry Foster and James Miller. Early 
in August, 1879, Garden City was reached and 
the depot built. The railway crossed the Blue 
Earth river about a mile below the old town- 
site of Vernon and two new towns adjoining 
each other and a mUe distant from the old town, 
and on the opposite side of the river, were laid 
out in the fall of 1879 on the farm of Elnathan 
Kendall. One was platted by the railway com- 
pany in October, 1879, called "East Vernon Cen- 
ter" and the other platted on November 37th, 
1879, by Elnathan Kendall, under the name of 
"Vernon Center." The name of the station was 
changed soon thereafter to "Edgewood" and 
again later to "Vernon Center." For two or three 
years there was a hot rivalry between the old 
and new town, but the location of the railroad 
had made the doom of the old town certain, and 
it only lived in a lingering way for some half 
a dozen years. 

The railway reached this place and built its 
depot there about the middle of September, 1879. 
The next station was put near the center of 
Shelby township about two miles north of the vil- 
lage of Shelbyville, upon land which the railway 
company had bought for the purpose of George 
Quiggle. At first the name of "Jackson Lake" 
was suggested, but when the plat of the town- 
site was made on October 31, 1879, it bore the 
name of "Amboy" after a town of that name 
in Illinois, from which its first postmaster and 
storekeeper, Eobert Eichardson, had come. As 
in the case of old Vernon, Shelbyville was thus 
dealt its mortal blow by the railway for which 
it had been praying so long. After a death strug- 
gle of two or three years it passed away and 
the place of this once thriving village now knows 
it no more. 

In the fall of 1878, the hog cholera made its 
appearance in our county, and later did great 
damage to the pork raising industry. 

The cultivation of Amber cane had been grow- 

k. i 



iug in the county for the past fifteen years and 
A¥as now becoming an important industry. Its 
production continued to increase until the early 
nineties;, when it greatly diminished. Large 
cane mills were operated by T. E. Beeves and P. 
Stency, by Zimmerman and Compton and by 
Allen Moon, all of LeEay; by H. C. Howai-d 
and E. P. Evans of Garden City, by Geo.- Gilley 
in Cambria, by A. Anderson in Medo, and by 
many others over the county. Some mills made 
fro3n 200 to 300 gallons of syrup per day. The 
quality, was, also, very fine. 

In Jamestown the Volk Bros, were building 
up a large manufacturing plant. They first 
built a saw mill, stave factory, and store and in 
1879 added a big furniture factory. The latter 
was destroyed by fire in February, 1880. 

In March, 1878, the Legislature authorized 
the issuing of bonds for the building of an iron 
bridge over the Minnesota river at Mankato. 
The city voted $15,000.00 in the fall of that 
year for the purpose, the county gave $10,000^ 
and the town of Belgrade $3,500.00. On October 
2, 1879, the corner stone of the main pier was 
laid and the big bridge completed in the summer 
of 1880. Thus for the first time Blue Earth and 
Nicollet Counties were united. The cost of the 
bridge was $28,400.00, but extras connected with 
the approaches and gxading brought up the to- 
tal expense to about $30,000.00. Its total length 
is 810 feet. 

On October 15, 1878, was held at Garden 
City the first greenback convention in our 
county. Next year it met at Good Thunder and 
there were thirty-eight delegates present. 

During the summer of 1879 Warner and Foot 
of Chicago issued the first map of Blue Earth 
county, showing not only its physical and po- 
litical features, but every road, farm and build- 
ing with names of proprietors. It was a most 
excellent map, fairly complete, accurate, and 
beautifully printed, and is still much in use. 
On May 13, 1879 J. L. Barlow, who was con- 
nected with so many newspaper enterprises in 
the villages of our county, started a paper at 
Mapleton, called the "Mapleton Messenger." De- 
cember 4, 1879, John D. Quane started a paper 
at Lake Crystal, which he designated "The Blue 
Earth county Public Spirit." In November, 1879, 

Gen. James H. Baker purchased the "Mankato 
Union" and the Mankato Eecord, and consoli- 
dated them into a new paper, which he called 
the "Mankato Free Press," the first issue of 
which appeared January, 1880. 

The summer and fall of 1879 was very dry 
and prairie fires were very common all over 
the county, which resulted in inuch damage to 
some of the farmers. The years of 1879 and 
].880 were noted, also, in our history for their 
severe storms of wind and hail. On July 3, 
1879, such a storm passed through Ceresco, 
Lincoln, Garden City, Judson, Eapidan, Ver- 
non Center, Lyra, Decoria and Medo. In one 
spot of Judson this storm developed into a small 
cyclone, which struck the residence of Henry E. 
lioberts and completely demolished it. Fortu- 
nately Mr. Eoberts and his family escaped in- 
jury, though carried with the debris of their 
home for some distance and then dropped out- 
side in the yard. The next day another storm 
of like character swept through Pleasant Mound 
and Shelby. It unroofed the brick residence of 
Nathaniel Stevens and, wrecking a part of the 
wall, killed Mrs. Stevens. These storms worked 
great destruction to the crops all over the 
county. A partial estimate of the loss by towns 
was as follows: Beauford 500 acres, Ceresco, 
2,500 acres, Decoria 1,300 acres. Garden City, 
1,000 acres, Lincoln 200 acres, Lyra 1,200 acres, 
McPherson, 2,000 acres, Medo 2,500 acres, Eapi- 
dan 500 acres, Vernon Center 1,500 acres, total 
13,200 acres. 

In 1880 the storms came about a month ear- 
lier and were therefore not quite so destructive 
to crops, but were more injurious to buildings 
than the storms of the previous year. On June 
3, 1880, a severe storm of wind and hail struck 
LeEay, McPherson, and Medo. Two days later 
(June 5th) a storm, amounting to a tornado, 
passed over Mankato, unroofing the Normal 
school, the court house, the Catholic College, 
Norwegian Church, Christian church. Masonic 
Hall, City Hall and a great many business blocks 
and private residences. It also blew down the 
cupola of the Swedish church, and demolished ^ ^ ^ 
windows, chimneys, and trees without number. 
Very few buildings in the city but received more 
or less damage. The storm, also, badly damaged 



a brick school house in Lime towB and did 
much injury in the country northeast of Man- 
kato. The same day another tornado entered 
Pleasant Mound at its Southwest corner and 
thence swept eastward through this town and 
through Shelby demolishing six school houses 
in its path and unroofing and otherwise injur- 
ing many private houses. A man named Newell, 
a widower, living at Pleasant Mound, saw the 
storm coming, and got into the house before the 
liurricane struck it. Feeling the building move 
with the wind, he grabbed his two little children 
in his arms and tried to open the east door, 
the opposite side from the storm, but the suc- 
tion of the wind was too great. The house top- 
pled over on its side, then rolled upside down. 
When Mr. Newell recovered consciousness, he 
Tfas lying under a sulky plow in the yard, with 
the two children unhurt still in his arms, but 
the house was gone, torn in pieces by the wind. 
He picked himself and children up and hastily 
sought shelter from the pelting rain and hail in 
n sheep pen near by. H. B. Perrin and family 
then resided on their farm in Pleasant Mound. 
When the storm came Mr. Perrin threw him- 
self against the door to brace it. A crash up- 
stairs warned him the windows there had 
blowed in, and a second later the roof went, 
and then the siding began tearing ofE and fly- 
ing away. Hastily leaving the fast disintegrating 
house Mr. Perrin and wife and children man- 
aged by clinging to each other to crawl into a 
root house close at hand. 

A man going along the road saw the storm 
coming and ran for shelter to the Kenney school 
house, but, being Saturday, found the door 
locked. He sought shelter in one of the outhous- 
es, but that soon was blown over. He then took 
refuge on the leeward side of the school house, 
but this building began to topple. There was 
BOW nothing else for our friend to do, but gird 
up his loins and run. As he sped with the 
storm he glanced back over his shoulder and 
saw the school house coming after him, tum- 
bling before the wind. Afterwards he used to 
tell with great glee of the time he ran across 
the prairie chased by a school house and two 
outhouses. These are a few of the many inci- 
dents serious and sometimes humorous of these 

storms. Among the school houses demolished 
vere the Perrin new frame school house, the 
Willow Creek, Lattin, -and Kennedy brick school 
houses and the Brownly log school house. In 
Ceresco the McAllen, Mead and Delvin school 
houses were more or less wrecked. It was very 
fortunate the storm occurred on Saturday, when 
tliere were no schools, else worse tragedies might 
have happened. 

The Kopieschke residence, in Ceresco, and the 
frame of the new Presbyterian church, at Amboy, 
were torn to pieces by the wind. A vast num- 
ber of houses and barns were injured all over 
the southwest part of the county and the dam-- 
ages incurred - aggregated over $30,000.00. 

About June, 1879, the people of Pleasant 
Mound and Shelby organized "The Blue Earth 
Valley Stock Association,'' which at first was 
merely intended to advertise a big Norman Per- 
cheron horse named "Colossus" and his progeny, 
but the event soon developed into a regular fair, a 
strong rival of the County Fair. These fairs 
were generally held at Wilder's grove, or at 
tlie farms of L. H. McKibben or J. D. Heritage. 

In March, 1880, the first telephone in the 
cow.nty was installed. It extended between the 
City Hall in Mankato and the Hubbard mill 
and the Mankato House. 

In November, 1879, the Minnesota Central 
Railway, (usually called the Mankato and Wells 
Eailroad) was sold to the Chicago, Milwaukee 
and St. Paul railway company, who assumed 
charge in January, 1880. 

During March and April, 1880, Red Itildion 
Clubs were organized at Mapleton, Good 
Thunder, Winnebago Agency, and Lake Crystal 
by Harry Hall of Michigan, which did consid- 
erable work along temperance lines. 

About May 1, 1880, a new paper was started 
at Mapleton called the "Mapleton Censor." 

The milling industry of our county continued 
active, but the tendency was to erect mills at 
railway points, and mills away from such points 
were on the decline. In July, 1880, the Hubbard 
Mill put in the roller process. In the fall of 
the same year ilr. Gates erected a new mill at 
Mapleton village. The Cable Mill in Lyra was 
now owned by Turner and Eedfearn. The Eap- 
idan Mill, the Garden City Mill, the Butter- 



field mill, the Eed Jacket Mill, the White Star 
Mill, Eagle Lake mill, the Farmers Mill, Win- 
nebago Agenej' Mill, Dyer Mill, Vernon Mill, 
Sterling mill and three or four other mills were 
still running. All these were flour mills. The 
saw mills of the county at this period must 
haye numbered about twenty. 

On September 3, 1880 The Mankato Free 
Press appeared for the first time under the edi- 
torship of Woodward and Foss, who had suc- 
ceeded Gen. Baker as proprietors. The itinerary 
journalist, J. L. Barlow, moved his printing 
press to Winnebago Agency and issued a few 
numbers of his "Messenger" there, but by Jan- 
uary 6th, 1881, he was over at Garden City, 
issuing it as the "Garden City- Messenger." 
By March 1, 1881, the "Mapleton Censor" had 
been suspended. 

About October 1, 1880, Olaf Olson started 
a new store at what is now Eapidan station in 
connection with the post office and his wood 
business. About the same time John Hanson 
started a store at Little Cobb post office in 

On December 4, 1880, occurred the first big 
business failure in the coimty, that of Preal 
and Du Buisson and the mill company of 
Eocky and Company. The liabilities were over 
$46,000.00 and the creditors were largely Blue 
Earth County people, who could ill brook their 

On December 31, 1880 the old Red Jacket 
Mill burned. At the time it was owned by 
Hillyer and Bingham of Northfield, Minn., and 
was insured for $10,000.00. It had been one of 
the most noted mills in the county, but because 
of its out of the way location and want of cap- 
ital it was never rebuilt. On January 31, 1881, 
the Mankato Mutual Building and Loan Associa- 
tion was organized at Mankato by a number of 
our county seat business men. It was the first 
organization of the kind in the county. The 
institution has helped build over 1,300 resi- 
dences and business blocks in Mankato, North 
Mankato and elsewhere in the county. 

The winter of 1880-1 was very long, cold and 
snowy. The snow came about November 2nd, 
and did not leave until about the 30th of April. 
The freshet, which occurred in the Minnesota 

about the last week in April was the biggest 
ever known in that river since the advent of the 
white settlers, and 1881 has ever after been 
known as the year of "high water." 

The river attained to the height of twenty-four 
feet above low water mark, while in 1858 and 
1867, when it had risen the highest before, it 
was only twenty-two feet. On May 3, 1881, 
the sternwheel steamer "Mary Barnes" arrived 
at Mankato from St. Paul. It was the first boat 
to reach our county for four or five years. It 
was in charge of Captain Newton. In. the spring 
of 1881 the German Catholic Benefit society 
was organized at Mankato, which soon had over 
a hundred members. This society prospered and 
now has several hundred members. 

On March 3, 1881, a number of Sterling farm- 
ers organized an Alliance in the school house in 
District No. 102. It was among the first of 
that kind of farmers clubs in the county. About 
the last of the same month another Alliance 
was started at the Eed School house in Beauford. 
Other Alliances were formed during the year and 
the order began to take an active part in politics 
s,nd all matters looking to the betterment of the 
agricultural class. 

On June 6, 1881, the farmers of McPherson, 
Medo, Decoria^ and Beauford met at the village 
of Hilton (Winnebago Agency) and organized 
a. Farmers Mutual Insurance Company." Its 
first officers were President, J. L. Cook, Secy. 
Chas. O'Connor, Directors, E. B. H. Norton, J. 
D. Hawkins, Chas. O'Connor, F. W. Lassow, J. 
L. Cook and John Bestman. Heretofore fire in- 
surance in the county had been carried by big 
stock companies like the Fire and Marine of 
St. Paul, the Continental of Hartford, Conn., 
and similar corporations, and the insurance man 
was a familiar figure on our country roads. But 
this farmer's mutual insurance was the fore- 
runner of a new order of things. In a few 
years the old line companies had been supplant- 
ed by local mutual insurance companies. 

At our county seat during 1881, the Hubbard 
Mill was enlarged and improved and Grover 
C. Burt built a large three story brick addition 
to the Mankato House. 

On January 16, 1882, the Mankato Opera 



House burned, but within a year was again re- 
built and remodeled. 

At a special session of the Legislature in 1881 
a Municipal Court was established at Mankato 
and on January 13, 1882, 0. 0. Pitcher was 
appointed its first Judge and John B. Hodapp 
was its first Eecorder. 

In February Andrew Friend bought the Wil- 
lard or Capwell Mill, enlarged it to a 100 barrel 
capacity and installed in it the roller process. 

The Alliance movement had been growing rap- 
idly in the county during the past few months, 
and in March, 1882, nine Alliances, met at Good 
Thunder and formed an Union under the name 
of the "Blue Earth County Alliance." These 
nine were: Mapleton, Sterling ISTo. 20. Sterling 
No. 65, Beauford, Mankato Township, Decoria, 
Amboy, No. 68, Amboy No. 60, and Good Thun- 
der. The officers chosen were : Lvsander Cook, 
President; Peter McGrath, J. B. Emmerson, 
Joseph May, D. W. Evans, Joseph Bookwalter 
and Adam Arnold, Vice-Presidents, Capt. Geo. 
W. Haigh, Secretary; and J. S. Englerth, 
Treasurer. Another meeting was held at Good 
Thunder on June 3, 1882, when the following 

ten Alliances were represented by the persons 
named : 

Good Thunder, L. Cook, P. McGrath and G. 

Mapleton, W. G. Dailey and T. D. Dailey. 

Beauford, F. Childs, and L. F. Findley. 

Decoria, F. M. Currier and, Geo. Todd. 

Sterling, No. 20, M. M. Pratt and James Ellis. 

Sterling, No. 65, W. A. Grover, W. S. Al- 
drich and W. J. Mountain. 

Garden City, L. Cook, L. S. Terrj' and J. G. 

LeEay, Ira B. Eeynolds. 

Judson, Eich. Wigley and John Edwards. 

Mankato, Geo. W. Haigh, Jno. Diamond and 
J. S. Englerth. 

Among the foregoing were several names who 
^veve destined to play a prominent part in the 
advancement of the Alliance cause in our own 
county and the state. 

On July 4, 1882, the County Alliance held a 
big celebration at Good Thunder, at which Hon. 
S. P. Sprague, State Lecturer for the order, 
and Seth Bottomly of Fairmont were the lead- 
ing speakers. 



With the year 1882 we note the advent of the of Amboy and Lake Crystal were put among 
first creameries into the county, an industry money order offices, October 11, 1882, occurred 

which in the near future was to convert our 
county from wheat raising to stock raising and 
butter making. C. G. Spaulding at Mapleton, 
J. H. Long and W. T. Mills at Mankato, H. C. 
Howard, and Marston Larson and Davis of Lake 
Crystal and S. H. Grannis were among the pio- 
neers of this new enterprise in our county. 

the first issue of "The Lake Ci7stal Union'- 
by Geo. W. Neff, who has edited and published 
the paper ever since. Mr. Neff had formerly 
published {he "Mankato Union" and was an ex- 
perienced newspaper man. 

About September 5, 1883, Mr. Woodward 
sold the "Mankato Free Press" to Lemuel P. 

In June, 1882, "The History of the Minnesota Hunt, a young man of good abiUty and great 
Valley" was published. The book contains a energy. Without much personal magnetism or 
fairly good history of our county among a popularity and with but little capital at the 
number of others. On July 23, 1882, the 25th start, Mr. Hunt has managed by push, enter- 
anniversary of the organization of the Sterling prise and good judgment to build up one of the 
Congregational chuch was observed. Eev. J. E. best publishing plants in the state and his paper 
Conrad being the principal speaker. was always newsy and readable and enjoyed as 

On July 15th, 1882, the "Blue Earth County large a circulation as any paper in Southern 

Anti Horse Thief Association" met at Lake Minnesota. 

Crystal, with one or more delegates from every In August, 1882, the present brick poor house 

town. G. W. Monks was president, and J. C. was completed on the county farm at a cost 

Currier, secretary. of $5,000.00. 

June 28, 1882 a militia company designated During -this year there was much talk about 

"Company F, Second Eegiment," was formed tlie "Mankato, Austin and St. Cloud Eailway" 

at Mankato with Geo. W. Mead as captain, S. W. and the "Cannon Valley Eailway." McPherson 

Burgess, 1st Lieutenant, F. W. Walker, 2nd voted $10,000.00 bonus to the former and other 

Lieutenant. This organization existed for a towns along the proposed route voted similar 

number of years, though the personnel of both amounts, 

officers and men changed many times. At the Prior to 1882 Geo. A. Clarke had started a 

second election of officers March 13, 1883, 
S- W. Burgess became Captain, H. C. Acres 
1st Lieutenant and D. F. McGraw 2nd Lieu- 
In the spring of 1882 Corliss and Brown 

summer resort at Madison Lake, and had done 
much, to create an interest in this charming spot, 
hidden in the depth of the forest. During this 
summer J. M. Barclay who owned a tract of 
land known as Point Pleasant on a fine promon- 

started a bank at the village of Mapleton. On tory of the lake, built thereon a two story frame 

July 21, 1882, a new postoffice was started call- liotel, which soon became very popular as a sum- 

ed "Beauford," with L. F. Finley, who kept mer retreat. 

« small store at Beauford Center, as its first During 1882, Lake Crystal built a two story 

Postmaster, On August 7, 1882, the post offices brick school building at a cost of $8,000. 

" 193 

lui kbk 



On October 27, 1882, Wm. C. Durkee, who 
had served the county since 1869 as Clerk of its 
District Court, died, and Wm. B. Torrey wag 
appointed to fill the vacancy. 

On February 14, 15, and 16, 1883, "The 
Korthwestern Dairymen's Convention" was held 
at Mankato and gave much inspiration to the 
new dairy interests of our county. One feature 
of the decorations of the occasion was an ice 
palace surmounted by an effigy of a calf, erect- 
ed in the street in front of the City Hall, 
where the meetings were held. Soon after this 
meeting the Lake Crystal creamery was sold to 
Lawrence Straight and Co., and a little later 
1hov, also, bought the Mankato cret- 
in March, 1883 Joseph Bookwalter, of Vernon 
Center was appointed collecter of customs at 
St. Vincent. 

For a number of years John E. Beatty of 
Mankato had made a special study of the lime- 
stone ledges in and about Mankato, and, after 
numerous experiments, had discovered along the 
banks of the Blue Earth in West Mankato a 
quantity of good cement rock. In 1882 he in- 
terested J. S. Parsons of Hartford Conn., and 
U.. Cummings of Buffalo, IST. Y. in the find; 
and on April 24, 1883, they purchased a tract 
of several acres, containing the cement ledge, of 
Stephen Lamm, Noah Armstrong and Daniel 
Buck. Extensive and very substantial build- 
ings were constructed during the summer and 
the plant began operations in the fall. For 
a number of years large quantities of cement 
v/ere manufactured by the "Mankato Standard 
Cement Company." 

Another industry, which was started this 
same spring of 1883, adjacent to the cement 
works, was the manufacture of drain tile and 
firebrick by S. F. Alberger. The clay for the 
purpose was mostly obtained from the Le Sueur, 
and was of excellent quality. This work pros- 
pered for a time, but the want of capital, the 
discrimination in railway rates, and a better of- 
fer at the Twin Cities, finally induced Mr. Al- 
berger in three or four years to abandon his 

The same spring (1883) witnessed the erec- 
tion at Mankato by 0. C. McCurdy, John Van 
Liew and L. Patterson, of Van Wert, Ohio, of 

the Mankato gas works, the first in the county. 

About July 11th, 1883, a telephone plant 
was installed at Mankato with sixty-three sub- 
scribers, mainly through the efforts of A. B. 
Smith. It was the first effort to give the people 
of our county the services of this modern con- 

In the fall of 1883 Frank Lewis of Worth- 
ington purchased the machinery of the "White 
Star" flour mill from the heirs of Capt. Dicker- 
son and moved same to Lake Crystal; where he 
formed a copartnership with Marston, Cry and 
Davis in its operation. 

In September, 1883, Smith's mill was made a 
regular station on the ISTorthwestem railroad 
and a depot was erected. There was a mill and 
three general stores already located at this 

In the summer of 1883, John D. Quane 
moved his paper, "The Public Spirit" from Lake 
Crystal to Mankato and changed it to a daily 
paper. It was the first attempt at publishing a 
daily in our county but for some reason or other 
it was not a success and its publication sus- 
pended in December. 

February 12 to 15, 1885 the 'TSTorthwestem 
Dairymen's Association" met again at Mankato 
and the dairy interests of the county were given 
another big impetus. An important change 
was now taking place in our county along agri- 
cultural lines. The farmers were turning from 
wheat raising to stock raising and the production 
of butter ; and these big conventions helped mater- 
ially in the transition. Public sentiment was mold- 
ed by them and the people educated and enthused 
along these lines. Early in March, 1884, the 
merchants of Lake Crystal formed a "Dairy 
Board of Trade," which sent men out through the 
country regularly to gather the butter fresh from 
the churn and have it all worked over at Lake 
Crystal by experienced butter makers. 

In April, 1884, a dairymen's convention was 
held at Mapleton which gave the farmers in that 
vicinity an opportunity to meet and discuss 
ways and means. About the same time, through 
the efforts of M. G. Willard, then secretary* 
of the Mankato Board of Trade, a "Dairy Pro- 
duce and "Exchange" was organized at Man- 
katoj embracing a number of counties in South- 



western Minnesota, the main purpose of which 
was to arrange sale or market days for butter, 
so as to bring the producers into touch with 
the butter dealers of New York City and else- 
where. The first sale days were held at Mankato 
during this month of April, and a number of 
buyers and sellers were present. 

The growth of the dairy interest called forth 
new enterprises. W. W. Woodward and Chas. 
M. Marsh formed a copartnership for the man- 
ufacture of butter tubs at Mankato and dur- 
ing the summer erected a large factory for the 
purpose. In June, 1884, the English speaking 
Catholics of Mankato and vicinity separated 
themsehes from the German Catholic Church 
and Father John Prior became their pastor. 

In Vernon Center the fight between old Ver- 
non and "Edgewood" was still raging, but the 
latter place was steadily gaining ground over its 
rival. In July, 1883, it obtained a postofEice 
with E. W. Washburn as postmaster, and in 
1884 it won the new school house. 

Amboy by this time was getting to be quite 
a village with several stores, hotels, and churches. 
In January, 1885, it even supported a newspaper 
called the "Amboy News." 

During the years 1882 to about 1886, the 
young people of Sterling and vicinity were very 
active in literary and lyceum work. 

At Mapleton, James Brown, the merchant 
and banlcer, had become, also, an editor, pub- 
lishing a small monthly paper called the "Ma- 
pleton Enterprise" in connection with the store 
of Brown, Wishart & Orr as early as the first 
of August, 1884. This paper continued for a 
year and had a circulation of 800. 

On January 13, 1885, Hon. Schyler Colfax, 
Ez-vice president of the United States, died sud- 
denly at the depot of the St. Paul and Omaha 
railway in Mankato, while waiting between 
trains. At the New Orleans Mid Winter Expo- 
sition in January, 1885, an exhibit of the stone 
and some other products of our county was 
made, with James Shoemaker in charge. 

The Cannon Valley Eailroad (now called the 
Chicago and Great Western) was then ap- 
proaching Mankato from Eed Wing and Fari- 
bault and had reached Jamestown. A new town- 
site was started there on January 17, 1885, on 

the line of this railway called "Madison Lake," 
after the lake of that name on which it is situ- 
ated. The proprietors were: Chas. F. Hatch as 
trustee, Luther Z. Sogers and Lewis Fitcher. At 
Mankato the German Lutheran parochial school 
which had heretofore been taught by the pas- 
tor, was put in charge of a regular teacher. 
Prof. H. I. F. Brockmeyer, in April, 1885. 

During the summer a three story brick block 
was erected by Patterson, Halfhill and Zimmer- 
man for their new wholesale grocery business. 
These men, who proved to be a valuable acquisi- 
tion to the mercantile interests of the county, 
came from Van Wert, Ohio. 

The coming into power of a Democratic ad- 
ministration at the National Capitol wrought 
many changes this year in the political circle 
by the Blue Earth. The U. S. Land office there 
at Tracy was put in charge of P. K. Wiser as 
receiver and George W. Warner as Eegister. 
About all the postmasters in the county, were, 
also, changed. 

A big fourth of July celebration was held this 
year (1885) at Pleasant Mound, at which Seth 
Bottomley was orator. August 11, 1885, oc- 
curred the first issue of the "Mankato State 
Eegister," published by Carl Eastwood. About 
the same date the "Third District Messenger," 
a prohibition paper was started at Mankato by 
H. C. Hotaling. There were now six English 
and one German papers printed at the county 
seat. ' 1 

During August and September, 1885, Far- 
mers' State Institutes were conducted at Gar- 
den City and other points in the county by 
J. T. McCleary and Miss Sprague. 

About September 1, 1885, James B. Swan 
sold his interest in the Eapidan Mill company 
to S. H. Baker of St. Peter for $7,700. Sep- 
tember 8, 1885, occurred at Mankato the second 
annual fair of the "Southern Minnesota Live 
Stock and Fair association. September 30, 1885, 
the "Blue Earth Valley Fair Association" held 
its eighth exhibition on the farm of L. F, Mc- 
Kibbin. Senator M. C. Wilkinson, Gen. Geo. 
Becker and Gen. James H. Baker, the two lat- 
ter being at the time on the State Eailway 
Commission delivered addresses to over 2500 
people. Other events of 1885, wer^ a new 



brick school house at Amboy; a new post office 
established at Madison Lake in October, with 
Geo. W. Allyn as postmaster; the beginning of 
the erection of a big fiberware plant at Man- 
kato by M. G. and John A. Willard, which 
was later transformed into a part of the present 
Knitting Mills; the dedication on October 18, 
1885, at the town of Danville of the new Ger- 
man Lutheran church, and the formation over 
"lie county of many temperance clubs, such as: 
Good Templar lodges. Sons of Temperance, 
Prohibition clubs, Wide Awakes and W. C. 
T. U. 

During the winter of 1885-6 tobogganing 
was the craze in Blue Earth County and all 
over the Northwest and on January 26, 1886, 
the St. Paul clubs visited the Mankato clubs. 

The matter of changing the name of Winne- 
bago Agency post office agitated its patrons for 
a few weeks during this winter. At a meet- 
ing held February 6, 1886 the name Hilton 
was chosen by a close vote, in honor of the 
proprietor of the main townsite, but at another 
meeting held about March 33, the name St. 
Clair- was adopted on the suggestion of Chas. 

During this same month (March, 1886,) the 
Mankato band led by Prof. Jache assisted by 
Henry Wilcox was mustered in as a military 
band for the Second Regiment Minnesota mili- 

On the 30th of the same month a number of 
the farmers of Shelby, Pleasant Mound, Yer- 
non and Sterling combined to build a Grain 
ware house at Amhoy. Their corporate name 
was "The Amboy Farmers Co-operative Associ- 
ation" and one hundred shares of stock were 
issued at $15 each. 

On the 27th of the same month the working 
men of Mankato affected their first organization, 
at the instigation of one C. A. Lincoln of Ohio. 

Tn April. 1886, W. R. Geddes succeeded. Mr. 
Eastwood as half owner of the "State Eedster'-' 
and in March, 1887, Mr. Geddes purchased the 
other half interest of W. W. Woodward, and 
became the sole proprietor of this stronsr rival 
of the "Free Press" in the journalistic field. 

In November, 1885. Wm. M. Farr and John 
C. Noe, two prominent business men of Man- 

kato, applied and received a franchise for a 
street railroad in that city. Early in the spring 
they began the construction of the road along 
Front Street, and on June 22, 1886, a corpora- 
tion was formed with a capital of $50,000 by 
W. M. Farr, John C. Noe, J. A. Willard, Ste- 
phen Lamm, Geo. P. Piper, Geo. H. Clark and 
J. E. Jones. The railway was completed and 
opened for travel on July 23, 1886, and 966 
passengers were carried on the first day, 1033 
on the second, and 1455 on the third day. Had 
this patronage continued this first venture in 
a street railway in our county might have been 
a paying enterprise. The cars were operated 
by horses. Extensions were made from the 
main line on Front street first to the C. St. 
P. M. & 0. Ry. depot, then up Center and 
Byron Street in the summer of 1887, and after 
two or three years the latter extension was taken 
up and used in an extension to Sibley Park and 
the Blue Earth River bridge. Mankato at that 
time proved too small a town for a street rail- 
way, and the patronage failed to pay the operat- 
ing expense. So after giving the enterprise a 
full test and finding their deficit growing big- 
ger each year, the company finally, in October, 
1895, surrendered their franchise, pulled up 
their tracks and abandoned the project. 

On June 18, 1886, a number of the pubhn 
schools of Sterling and Mapleton had a big 
picnic at Johnson's grove in Sterling. Fifteen 
schools were represented. 

August 31, 1886, The Mankato National 
Bank, (now called the Mankato State Bank), 
was organized by Dr. Z. G. Harrington, D. 
Buck, John H. Ray, M. J. Severance, Geo. T. 
Bovnton, M. 0. Sundt and others. 

Sept. 3, 1886, saw the first issue of the "Man- 
kato Post" a new German paper, by Geo. W. 
Sherer and Geo. J. Eheler. 

September 1, 1886, the Alliance and Labor 
Unions of the County met at Good Thunder 
and put in nomination a Legislative and county 
ticket, but the leading candidates of the two 
old parties managed to steer the nominations 
mostly their way. 

The other events of 1886, were: a fair held 
by the farmers of the Fifth Commissioner Dis- 
trict at Mapleton in September; th^ holding 



Bflprisr CHURCH 

^leAuriirui. jL.A,Ke cHva'i 



of a number of Farmers institutes over the 
county; the burning of the Maple ton Eoller 
Mill on December 31; the building of the Odd 
Fellows block at Mankato; and the installing of 
waterworks at the same eity^ supplied by arte- 
sian wells. 

At the election in November^ 1886, John 
Peter Kramer of Danville, the Democratic nom- 
inee, defeated Wm. Jones, the Eepublican can- 
didate by one or two votes. On January 9, 
1887, within five or six days after assuming 
office Mr. Kramer died, and the County Com- 
missioners elected Mr. Jones to fill the vacancy 
by a vote of three to two. 

During these years the matter of building a 
new court house was a very live issue in our 
county, which called forth a long and bitter 
fight. In this unfortunate contest the City of 
Mankato aided by two or three townships were 
ranged on the side favorable to the new court 
house, while the rest of the county was in oppo- 
sition. We have spoken of some of our county 
buildings already in this history, but it may not 
be amiss to review the history of our county 
buildings as a preface to the history of our 
present court house. 

The first move looking toward the erection 
of a court house was taken by the County Com- 
missioners on July 10, 1856, when they pro- 
posed to build a two story stone edifice 30 
by 40 feet. Nothing was done however, to carry 
this resolution into effect. At their next meet- 
ing on October 21, 1856, the board decided 
"because of the lateness of the season and the 
urgent needs of a jail and other reasons" (prin- 
cipally want of funds) not to build the court 
house, but to build a jail and sheriff's residence 
at once. Accordingly on November 1, 1856, a 
contract was let to Francis Bunker, then sheriff 
of the county, to construct a one story log 
jail 12 by 20 feet, the logs to be of hard wood 
and hewed eight iuches square, and in front of 
this jail and contiguous to it a one story frame 
dwelling for the sheriff 14 by 20 feet. The 
jail part was divided into two cells and the 
sheriff's residence had a living room, a bedroom, 
pantry, an attic above and a small hole in the 
ground for a cellar. The building was complet- 
ed by January 1, 1857, at a cost of $900.00 and 

stood facing "Walnut Street about 100 feet west 
of the northeast corner of the court house block 
on the brow of the hill. In the smnmer of 
1859, a small kitchen was added to the sherifl"s 
house. This was the only jail and sheriff's resi- 
dence the county possessed until January, 1868. 
Westward of this jail about" 150 feet, and at the 
loot of the hill, the sheriff had his barn, first of 
logs, and afterwards of frame. On July 8, 1857, 
the Commissioners ordered the erection of a one 
story stone office building 20 by 24 feet, with 
a flat roof. At the same time the court house 
square was ordered to be enclosed by a substan- 
tial board fence. On the 28th of the same month 
the contract for the building was let to Isaac N. 
Britton and Francis Bunker for $1,500.00, and 
for the fence at $225.00, and both were con- 
structed that fall. This building fronted on 
Fourth street and stood on the court house 
square about 75 feet north of its southwest cor- 
ner. It was used at first as an office for the 
Eegister of Deeds, who in those days was, also, 
Clerk of the Boai-d of County Commissioners, and 
performed the duties now imposed upon the 
County Auditor. The Commissioners, too,- met 
in this building. When the office of County 
Auditor was created in 1858, this new official 
occupied the one room building jointly with 
the Eegister until January, 1871. 

A stone vault, in which were stored the rec- 
ords of the county, stood inside in one comer, 
much like a dutch oven in shape. The door 
to this fire and burglar proof safe was made of 
oak plank covered with sheet iron, which when 
new was painted and varnished. In time ' the 
paint wore off, and so did some of the sheet iron, ^ 
and the wood shrank, so the mice could run back 
and forth under the door when closed. 

We have already noted how the Legislature 
in February, 1867, authorized our County Com- 
missioners to issue $10,000.00 in bonds for the 
purpose of building a new Court House and jail, 
but added the proviso that the location of the 
building be submitted to the legal voters of the 
county; how Mankato won out at the election as 
the site, and on May 7, 1867, the contract was 
let for $10,300.00 to L. J. Lewis. 

The old sheriff's residence and log jail were 
torn down to make room for this new building. 



which, also, faced on Walnut street. Being lo- 
cated on the brow of the hill, it gave an oppor- 
tunity for a good basement under the whole 
building, which was 33 by 75 feet, and two stor- 
ies high above the basement. As the westerly 
wall of the basement was exposed by reason 
of the slope of the ground, the structure from 
that point of view, looked like a three story 
buildiQg. The basement and the jail part were 
constructed of stone and the balance of the edi- 
fice was of brick. The jail occupied the rear 
forty feet of the first story, while the balance 
of the first story and the basement were the 
sheriff's apartments. The second story was 
reached by an outside wooden stairway on the 
easterly side of the building. The front fifty- 
five feet of this upper floor was occupied as a 
court room, while the rear twenty feet was par- 
titioned into two jury rooms. The windows of 
these jury rooms were grated and grates fitted 
into the doors so the rooms could be used for 
cells ia case of female prisoners. 

This was the first court room the county had 
ever owned. Heretofore, court had met in halls 
auch as the county could find for hire. The old 
City Hail, Concert Hall, Masonic Hall, Higgins 
Hall and Shoemaker's Hall had each ia its 
turn been the abode of the blind goddess, but 
at last she had been provided with a home of 
her own. The building was completed by No- 
vember 37, 1867, and first occupied by Evan 
Bowen, then newly elected sheriff, and the first 
term of court was held ia it December, 1867, 
Judge Horace Austin presiding. The first case 
liied was the famous Willow Creek Mayhem case 
against Miller, Day and others. 

The Clerk of Court established his office in 
the new court room as soon as it was finished 
and for a time the county treasurer occupied 
the same apartment. 

The extremely cramped condition the Audi- 
tor and Eegister of Deeds were experiencing in 
their one room office at the foot of the hill 
finally drove A. D. Seward, then Auditor, to 
prepare plans for enlarging it to a four room 
building. These were submitted to the Commis- 
sioners and accepted by them on March 11, 1870. 
The plans called for: the tearing out of the front 
and south sides of the little stone building, the 

putting of an addition of twenty-four feet on 
the south side making the entire ground space 
idx^i feet and the raising of the whole to a 
two story building. All new walls above a two 
foot stone base were of brick. This gave two 
rooms below, one for the Eegister on the north 
and the other for the Auditor. A stairway be- 
tween these two rooms led to the rooms on the 
second fioor, the upper room on the south side 
being occupied by the Treasurer and that on 
the north by the Clerk of Court. Two stone 
vaults for the use of the Eegister and Auditor 
were constructed on the outside in the rear of 
their respective offices. This made practically a 
new buiidiag, as all that was left of the little 
stone edifice were its north and rear walls. The 
contract was let to Wm. Eoberts and Co., on 
September 9, 1870, for $1,996.50, and the build- 
ing completed by January 6, 1871. The en- 
tire cost, including a number of extras to the 
original specifications, was $2,385.65. 

By 1876 the need of more room for the County 
Auditor, of the offices for officials still unprovided, 
and of fire proof vaults for a mass of comity 
records in the Probate, Clerk of Court, and 
Treasurer's offices appealed so strongly to the 
Grand Jury at the December term of Court, 
that it sent to the County Commissioners an 
urgent request to immediately supply these re- 

In response to these recommendations of the 
jury, the County Board, at its meeting on Jan- 
uary 6, 1877, requested its chairman to procure 
plans for enlarging the county office building 
and making the other necessary improvements. 
On February 1st, the contract was let for 
$1,777.15 to 0. S. Cowan. The new addition 
TFas a two story brick 23 feet front by 40 feet 
deep added to the southerly end of the build- 
ing. The entire lower floor of the new ad- 
dition was devoted to the Auditor's office, 
while the upper floor was divided into two of- 
fices, the front occupied by the Judge of Pro- 
bate, and the rear by the Clerk of Court. To 
reach these two offices a hall was constructed 
from the top of the stairway along the rear of 
the southerly upstair room of the first addition, 
which hall was lighted by a glass partition. The 
County Treasurer, who had heretofore occupied 



this room, moved to the room below, lately oc- 
cupied by the Auditor, while this upper room 
became lirst the County Attorney's office and 
later the Judge's chambers. The room to the 
north over the Eegister's office, where had 
been the Clerk's office, was given to the Sup- 
erintendent of Schools. In the outside angle 
formed at the junction of the first and second 
additions in the rear a large two story iire proof 
vault was constructed. The lower story was oc- 
cupied by the Auditor, but the upper story was 
divided into two vaults, one for the Clerk of 
Court and the other for the Probate Judge, but 
the latter had to enter the Clerk's office to reach 
his vault. 

These improvements were completed by Sep- 
tember 1, 1877, and no further change was 
made in our county buildings, until the erection 
of the present Court House and jail twelve to 
fifteen years later. 

The first move looking to the erection of a 
new Court House originated March 24, 1884, at 
a Board of Trade meeting of the City of Man- 
kato. The idea was suggested by Stephen 
Lamm, who had just returned from an ex- 
tended visit south and east, and had been 
strongly impressed by the progress he had seen 
everywhere in municipal architecture. The un- 
sightliness and inadequacy of our county build- 
ings had specially appealed to him on coming 
home as unworthy a gre'at and rich county like 
Blue Earth. Their shabbiness was a disgrace 
and gave strangers an impression that we were 
behind the times, that the county was either 
poverty stricken or greatly lacking in enterprise. 
We were ashamed to show them to any visitor, 
and no artist had ever taken a picture of them 
for they were void of all artistic merit or 

Mr. Lamm moved that the matter of building 
a new court house, which should be worthy of 
the county and adequate for its needs, be 
brought to the attention of the County Com- 
missioners. The motion was unanimously ap- 
proved and John Klein, who was then the 
member of the County Board from the city, 
and, also, a member of the Board of Trade, 
was requested to urge the matter upon the con- 
sideration of the Commissioners at their next 

meeting. At a meeting of the Board of Trade 
held July 28, 1884, John Klein asked the ap- 
pointment of a committee to aid him in bring- 
ing the matter of a new court house before the 
Commissioners, who were then in session. John 
A. Willard, 1". L. Walters and John C. Wise 
were appointed such a committee, and they at 
once appeared before the commissioners, who 
were induced to look with favor upon the prop- 
osition, and a resolution was passed levying a 
tax of one mill for a Court House fund. This 
lax raised about $8,000.00, which the Board in- 
tended to use in beginning the work of grading 
and starting the foundation. 

The County Commissioners at this time were : 
James B. Swan, Chairman, Timothy Kees, John 
Diamond, John Klein and Malachi Gainor. They 
were all men of excellent judgment and char- 
acter and all fully realized the great need of 
a new Court House. On January 1, 1885, Olaf 
Martinson, of Lincoln, succeeded Mr. Eees. He, 
too, was a faithful and fearless friend of the 
new Court House proposition. 

February 10, 1885, at the instigation of the 
Mankato Board of Trade, the Legislature passed 
an act authorizing the commissioners of Blue 
Earth County to issue $75,000.00 in bonds to 
build a court house, subject to ratification by 
the voters of the county. March 2, 1885, the 
Board of Trade appointed Stephen Lamm, Geo. 
M. Pahner, John C. Wise, John N. Hall, M. G. 
Willard, John C. Noe and F. L. Walters as a 
committee to appear before the commissioners 
and urge the calling of a special election to 
vote the bonds as soon as possible. The County 
Board on March 4, 1885, designated May 5, 
1885, as the time for holding such election. But 
the Court House project was not destined to 
meet only favorable breezes. The first note of 
audible opposition came from the Pleasant 
Mound grange. On April 35, 1885, it passed 
a resolution condemning the action of the 
County Board in calling the special election. 

The feeling of antagonism expressed by this 
grange seemed to suddenly pervade the whole 
county outside of Mankato, and the three town- 
ships adjacent. There were three or four rea- 
sons for it, though none of them were very 
valid. For many years there had been a desire 


on the part of the people living in the south- only 338; of this number 159 came from the 

western . portion of the county to have the towns of Mankato, Lime^ and South Bend, and 

county seat removed to a more central location 159 only from the balance of the county. 

than Mankato, and they had mostly cast their Of the 1,907 opposition votes only two came 

votes in favor of Garden City, when the ques- from the city. The vote by towns stood as 

tion was up in 1867. There may have been a follows: 

faint remembrance of the old fight and perhaps ^or Against 

a lingering ray of the old hope still cherishea ^^^^^^^^^ y^U^y 3 gs 

by some. The main reason, however, wais due Beauford ,:. :••.. 90 

to the natural conservatism of the people. The ^^^^^^ ;••• ;;;;;;■ ! go 

matter of a new and costly court house had Danville • • ■ l 109 

been sprung upon them suddenly, before they J^'^j"^ q-I ■■■■" -g 126 

had been educated or prepared for it and the Jamestown ...'.. 2 42 

initiative had come entirely from the Board of Hudson • • • • • • — 1* *|? 

•' Lake Crystal 4 107 

Trade of Mankato. This at once aroused strong LeRay 37 105 

suspicion that the whole scheme was gotten up l'™^ ^ ^2 

merely for the aggrandizement of the city, at Lyra 9 139 

the expense of the county. Indeed, the sus- Mankato City.... 1,461 2 

* J ? Mankato Townsnip 7o 'iS 

picion- was not wholly groundless, for the keen Mapleton 12 92 

interest in the project displayed by the city ^^^^®''^°'' ••••• ...^ ^77 

was not entirely unselhsh. But our people had pieasant Mound 2 84 

been schooled to the most rigid economy. They o?^,'^^^ ^7 151 

were just emerging from the hardships and de- south Bend 34 15 

privations of pioneer life, of Indian wars, and of Sterling 8 95 

the grasshopper scourge. Many had only re- 

cently moved from the log cabin, and the mort- T°*^l ^''^^ ^'^^^ 

gage on the farm had not been fully paid, so As four of the five commissioners were from 
anything suggestive of elegance or luxury was the country and represented a constituency so 
looked upon as wicked extravagance. Then the overwhelmingly opposed to a new Court House 
farmers over our county had just been organ- it was supposed for a time that the measure 
ized into Alliance clubs, and like the boy with would have to be abandoned. Mr. Wise, of the 
his first gun, were spoiling for a chance to Eeview, and two or three other members of the 
shoot at something. Here was something tangi- Board of Trade maintained, however, that the 
ble, which the Alliances of Blue Earth County vote did not signify that the people were op- 
might do. Here was a big city woodchuck posed to building a new Court House, but that 
making straight for the county corn crib and they objected to bonding the county for so 
why not kiU it? large a sum. 

The Board of Trade realized a few days be- The County Commissioners were men of inde- 

fore the election that their project was in grave pendent thought, who were fully convinced of 

danger. A circular was prepared by John A. the need of a new Court House, and realized 

Willard, presenting in a most forcible manner that the country vote had been stampeded to 

the necessity for a new Court House, which oppose the project simply because of the false 

was sent broadcast over the county. Another impression that there was no necessity for the 

circular to the same effect was prepared and building, except to gratify the pride of Mankato. 

signed by the County Commissioners and sent Because of this conviction, and since the law 

through the country, but nothing availed. The made it their duty to provide suitable county 

bonds were defeated by a vote of 1,907, to 1,799, buildings, the Commissioners were still well dis- 

making an adverse majority of 108. The city posed towards the measure. Knowing this Mr. 

cast 1,461 of the votes in favor and the county Wise urged the Board of trade on July 13, 



1885, t<3. appoint a committee to confer with 
them ahout the matter. John IST. Hall, J. A. 
Willard, Stephen Lamm, John C. Wise and L.. 
Patterson were appointed such a committee. The 
conferaiee was held and the result was that on 
July 29, 1885, the commissioners levied a tax 
ol $18,000 for a Court House building. 

About September 1, 1885, James B. Swan, 
chairman of the County Board, sold his inter- 
est in the Eapidan Mills to a Mr. Baker of St. 
Peter, and soon thereafter moved to the town 
of Judson in the vicinity of Lake Crystal. This 
removal took Mr. Swan beyond the confines of 
the Fourth Commissioner District, which he 
represented, and he resigned. 

Mr. Swan had been a very valuable member 
of thfi Board as he possessed excellent, judg- 
ment and his integrity was above a shadow of 
suspicion. He had, also, been a firm and fear- 
less supporter of the new court house and the 
friends of that measure much regretted his 

About December 10, 1885, C. H. Piper was 
chosen as his successor and at the first meeting 
in January, 1886, Malachi Gainor of Lyra was 
made chairman. On January 9, 1886, the Coun- 
ty Auditor was directed to invite the submis- 
sion by architects of plans and specifications 
for a new Court House to be received by Feb- 
ruary 17, 1886, and the public generally were 
invited to be present at the time to advise the 
board. At the time designated about 100 per- 
sons from various parts of the county met with 
the Board, the great majority of whom belonged 
to the party favorable to the Court House. 
Among the latter were the Board of Trade of 
Mankato, C. G. Spaulding of Mapleton, J. B. 
Swan of Judson, C. W. Herman of Shelby, J. 
P. Kramer of Danville, Geo. McMahill of Man- 
kato town, M. L. Lockerby of South Bend, and 
Pliilip Mueller of Lime, while Mr. Greenwood 
'>f Garden City acted as the principal speaker for 
the opposition. The next day the plans sub- 
mitted by Healey and Allen of Minneapolis 
were selected by the Commissioners as most 
suitable, but all action was postponed until 
March 3, 1886. On that date Healey and Allen 
were authorized to prepare the details for their 

plans arid specifications and submit them to the 
board at a meeting to be held in May. 

Comfliissioners Klein, Gainor and Diamond 
were appointed a building committee. The 
chairman of the Board was also authorized to 
advertise for bids to grade the Court House lot 
preparatory to the erection of a building thereon, 
the bids to be received by May 4. While no 
formal resolution to that effect was passed, the 
Comihissioners had unanimously come to the 
conclusion, to begin the erection of a new Court 

■ In view of the fact that the constituency of 
the four country members, Gainor, Diamond, 
Martinson, and Piper were so bitterly and over- 
whelmingly opposed to the measure, it was a 
(rery heroic act on the part of these four men. 
But having made up their minds that the 
county really needed the building no intimida- 
tion or matter of expediency could turn one 
of them from what he considered his duty. 

These steps of the commissioners greatly 
stirred up the opposition all over the county. 
At the town meetings held in March, resolu- 
tions were passed by fully two thirds of the 
towns denouncing the action of the Commis- 
sioners in the most vigorous language. The 
town of Sterling was the only town that passed 
resolutions of approval, though a few other towns 
were fully as friendly disposed. 

On March 31, 1886, a meeting of those op- 
posed to the new Court House was held at Gar- 
den City. Most of the towns were well repre- 
sented and resolutions passed scoring the com- 
missioners for setting aside the will of the peo- 
ple. A meeting was arranged at Mankato for 
April 9, to confer with the Board of Trade and 
the Common Council of that city to see if some 
amicable adjustment might not be made. At 
this Mankato meeting representatives were pres- 
ent from the town boards of Danville, Sterling, 
Shelby, Pleasant Mounds, Lincoln, Butternut 
Valley, Garden City, Beauford, Vernon, and 
LeEay, in all forty to fifty persons. They met 
at the Court House hall. Hon. E. T. Cham- 
plain was made chairman and E. D. Cornish 
secretary. Nothing came of the conference, 
except a few wordy cyclones, and a heavy down 
pour of righteous indignation. After the public 


meeting the faction opposed to the Court House 
met in conference with their attorney, Lorin Cray, 
of Lake Crystal, and determined to take the 
matter into court. Accordingly an injunction 
suit was brought in the name of E. D. Cornish 
against the County Commissioners to restrain 
them from building the Court House. The 
papers were served May 3, 1886, and the next 
day the Coujity Board retained Daniel Buck 
and E. P. Ereeman to assist the County Attor- 
ney, A. E. Pfau, in defending them in the 
fuit. At this meeting 0. Martinson and C. H. 
Piper were added to the building committee. 
At the hearing of the injunction proceeding 
on May 10, 1886, Judge C. M. Start, at the 
request of Judge Severance joined him upon 
the bench. On May 14, they filed their decis- 
ion holding that the Cormnissioners were justi- 
fied in proceeding to build a new Court House, 
that they could contract for $23,000 of work 
that year, but they were restrained from going 
beyond that figure at present; they were per- 
mitted, however, to levy a tax thereafter from 
year to year, not exceeding the five mill limit. 
It was really a victory for the County Commis- 
sioners. The contract for grading the portion 
of the Court House Block upon which the 
building was to stand was let, and the contract 
for building the basement was awarded to Thom- 
as Russell for $11,850, and this work was 
completed that fall, and then properly secured 
against the weather. A tax of $18,000 was lev- 
ied this year for Court House purposes, and be- 
fore retiring at the end of the year, the Board 
lei the contract for the main building to Ring & 
Tobin of Minneapdlis, who during the winter 
got out part of the stone. The building of the 
new court house was now assured though its 
completion was delayed for sometime for lack of 

With the solitary exception of John Diamond, 
the personnel of the County Board was com- 
pletely changed on January 1, 1887. The new 
Board consisted of H. K. Lee, chairman; John 
Diamond, John S. Jones, A. M. Hannay, and 
Chas. H. Dietz. In February, 1887, the Leg- 
islature authorized the commissioners to issue 
$30,000.00 in bonds to complete the Court House 
subject to ratification by the voters of the 

county. The measure carried by a vote of 1519 
to 1466. The precincts voting in favor were the 
city of Mankato and the towns of McPherson, 
Cambria, Judson, Mankato, Decoria, Lime and 
Sterling. The other towns voted against the 
measure, some of them like Lincoln, Pleasant, 
Mound, Medo^ and Beauford were almost unani- 
mous. During the spring and summer of 
1887 the work was prosecuted with fair dili- 
gence. A certain white flint stone had been 
designated for the pillars and trimmings, but 
it had, also, been used for the steps and 
water table in the foundation, laid the previous 
year, and during the winter had scaled and 
checked badly and the Commissioners insisted 
that a different kind of stone be substituted for 
it. This change formed the basis of a big charge 
for extras on the part of the contractors, which 
was disputed by the Board. A long and vexa- 
tious quarrel, ending in a law suit followed, 
which greatly hindered the work. 

During the winter of 1887-8 a compromise 
was effected and the work was resumed in the 
spring of 1888 and the building finished, ex- 
cept the carpenter work and inside furnishings. 
Not having suft'icient means to complete the 
building, the Legislature of 1889 passed a bill, 
authorizing the commissioners to issue another 
$30,000.00 of bonds, but without submission to 
a vote of the people. The contract for the 
interior work was now let to Jacob I'lachsenhar 
for $15,824.08. 

On the first of January, 1889, there had 
been two changes on the county Board. Nick 
Brules had succeeded John Diamond and Hugh 
H. Edwards had taken the place of John S. 
Jones. The building was finished by Octo- 
ber 1, 1889, and four or five days later the 
county ofiicers removed to their new quarters. 
The total cost of the building and its furnish- 
ings was a trifle over $123,000.00. 

The District Court convened in the new 
court room for the first time on December 3rd, 
1889, on which occasion Judge M. J. Sever- 
ance, presiding, referred to the new Court 
House as follows: "For the first time this 
court is sitting in this new, elegant and con- 
venient building, erected by the County of Blue 
Earth, and in which its public affairs will 



hereafter be conducted. This structure, sur- 
mounted by the symbols of justice, is grand 
and imposing and at the same time solid, mas- 
sive and substantial and with proper care will 
defy the elements and all the assaults of time. 
Here too, the archives of the county, so long 
imperiled and wasting, are more than reason- 
ably safe. In the erection of this, the County's 
temple, extravagance and prodigality of orna- 
ment, beyond the demands of positive utility 
and a laudable taste, have played no part. Only 
the necessities and the dignity of the County 
of Blue Earth, as a great political and munici- 
pal department of the greater state of Minne- 
sota, have been consulted. This structure stands 
for the sovereignty of the County of Blue 
Earth. It does not belong to the growing city 
in which it stands, but it belongs to the county 
and is the common property of all the people. 
This structure stands for more than the sov- 
ereignty of the county. It marks the progress 
of that laudable rivalry attendant upon a civil- 
ization that holds every triumph in architecture 
to be the hand maid of science and morals. 

You may search the country over and you will 
not find another public building, whose actual 
cost and expense of erection are so nearly equal 
as this. A critical view of this structure with 
all its appliances, and considering its adapta- 
bihty to the uses for which it has been desiged, 
I am sure will satisfy every citizen of this 
county of the propriety of the work now com- 

pletely accomplished. Had the county of Blue 
Earth done less than it has in this behalf, our 
waving forests, expanding prairies and rolling 
rivers, spanned by more than thirtj- bridges, all 
assuring the certain basis of a great prosperity, 
would have mocked at the parsimony of the 

There is no surer index of tlie financial cap- 
abilities of a county or the enterprise of its 
people, than the state and condition of its 
public buildings. A large and thrifty count)' 
seat, only made possible by productive surround- 
ings, and stately, well kept county buildings, 
do more to advertise the advantages of a 
countj' either for homes or the inducement of 
capital, than all the boom pamphlets that the 
air could contain." 

Because of the bitter opposition, which the 
erection of this finest Court House in the 
state, outside the Twin Cities, had engendered, 
and the long and desperate struggle that en- 
sued (an unfortunate condition, which later 
both sides deplored), no dedicatory services 
were held. But the noble structure stands a 
monument to the good judgment, strict honesty, 
public enterprise and fidelity of the men, who, 
under circumstances so adverse pushed to com- 
pletion, so splendid an undertaking. It also, stands 
as a worthy temple of the great county of Blue 
Earth, with its wealth of resources and vigor 
of enterprise and today every citizen feels a just 
and equal pride in its solid and stately walls. 



Turning back again to 1887, we note a few 
o^her events. On February 10, of that year the 
old settlers of Mapleton, Sterling and vicini- 
ty held a very successful reunion. It was held 
in the village of Mapleton, the speeches at 
Sprague's hall and the supper at Brown's hall. 
J. E. Brown was one of the moving spirits of 
tlie occasion. The two principal speakers were 
Eev. J. E. Conrad and attorney W. M. Plymat. 
Some 400 persons partook of the banquet. 
Among the old settlers who related their ex- 
periences at the evening program, were Joseph 
Dobie, John Johnston, Wm. Eandall, A. Moses, 
Wm. Wilde, James Emerson, F. Miller, Thos. 
Elliott, James Cornell, L. A. Cornell, M. B. 
Haynes, Bruce Hanna, Joseph Sprague, S. M. 
Keith, Mr. Eldridge, James Jordan, James Mor- 
ris, C. G. Spaulding and Eev. F. A. Pratt. 
Eev. J. E. Conrad had compiled a list of the 
deceased settlers of 1856, which he gave as fol- 
lows: Mrs. A. Annis, Mrs. Ira Annis, Artemas 
Stevens, Lizzie Taylor, Moses Herriman, Wm. 
Herriman, Mrs. M. L. Lockerby, J. Jackson, 
Elijah Horton, Mrs. Cook, Mrs. V. Hiland, 
Robert Taylor, Wm. Jones, Mrs. J. B. Conrad, 
Ira Annis, John Chase, Mrs. James Morris, 
David Smith, Chas. Jones and Isaac Smith. 
Thirty-one settlers of 1856, of this community 
were present at this reunion. 

At Mankato in February, 1887, F. L. Wat- 
ters purchased a 150 horse power engine and 
other necessary equipments for an electric light 
plant — the first in the county. 

In the spring of 1887, the Cannon Valley 
Railroad (now Chicago and Great Western) 
was finished to Mankato and on June 18, the 
first passenger train on this road left this -^ity. 

On April 1, 1887, appeared the first issuft of 

:he "Mankato Daily Free Press" — a very import- 
ant event in the history of Journalism in this 
part of the State. 

Independence day was celebrated this year at 
Good Thunder, where the Sioux chief of that 
name was present by invitation, it being er- 
roneously supposed by the committee that the 
village had been named in his honor, instead of 
the Winnebago chief. Good Thunder. Celebra- 
tions, also, were held at Latourell's grove in 
Danville, at Wagner's grove in Cambria, and at 
two or three other places in the county. 

July 26, 1887, Mankato voted bonds in the 
amount of $10,000.00 for sewer and $15,000.00 
for parks, and on October 3, Sibley Park was 
bought for $13,088.00 by the city of the Givens' 
heirs, and on December 19, 1887, the grounds of 
the Southern Minnesota Stock and Fair grounds 
were, also, purchased and added to the park. 
Mapleton and St. Clair both built new school 
houses this year. On September 17, 1887, Lake 
Crystal was visited by a big fire which burn- 
ed about half the business section of the vil- 

On January 1, 1888, the 'Free Delivery sys- 
tem was inaugurated in the Mankato postofEice 
with Michael J. Mullen, John G. Hoerr and 
Wm. J. Bradley as first carriers and Robert 
Thomas as alternate. 

In March, 1888, the Mankato Band resigned 
as musicians of the Second Regiment Minne- 
sota Militia after three years' service. The 
same month a new post office was created call- 
ed "Ceresco," with Michael Eussell as postmas- 
ter. Another new postoffice was created at 
Eapidan Mills under the name of "Garrett," 
with Lewis B. Garrett as postmaster, but it 
was never opened. On March 16, 1888, another 




paper was started at Lake Crystal called the 
"Lake Crystal Mirror/' With T. A. Eckley as 

In March, 1888, the "Lake Crystal Earmers' 
Insurance Association" was organized at Lake 
Crystal by the farmers of Garden City, Eapidan, 
Lincoln, Butternut Valley, South Bend, Jud- 
son and Ceresco. In December, 1887, Thos. 
Saulpaugh submitted a proposition to build a 
large hotel at Mankato on the corner of Front 
and Main streets, provided the lots were dona- 
te! to him. The Mankato Board of Trade dur- 
ing the winter raised the $14,000 required and 
purchased the lots for Mr. Saulpaugh, who 
during this and the following year erected there- 
on the present Saulpaugh hotel, which was open- 
ed in August, 1889. 

In the spring of 1888 Col. J. E. Tourtellotte 
offered $8,000 to build a hospital at Mankato, 
which offer was accepted and the building complet" 
ed in 1888. During 1888 the Baptist church at 
Mankato was built at a cost of over $13,000. 

May 4th, 1888, H. C. Hotaling, having bought 
a half interest in the "Mapleton Enterprise" 
changed it from a monthly to a weekly paper, 
and in a short time made it one of the best lo- 
cal journals in the state. 

The Burns Club which had been started more 
than twenty years before and had observed its 
annual meetings at the various homes of the 
community, was reorganized June 9, 1888, at 
the residence of Joseph Dobie in Sterling. 
The former organization had been very incom- 
plete, and the object was to have a more for- 
mal set of rules for the government of the 
club. The new officers were: 

President, Joseph Dobie. 

Secretary, James Howieson. 

Treasurer, Thos. Taylor. 

All nationalities were made eligible to mem- 
bership, and no liquor was permitted at the 
annual gatherings. 

In September, 1888, the Southern Minnesota 
Pair Association gave another of its fairs at 
Mankato. In November the Lake Crystal Bank, 
which Randolph Mitchell had organized failed, 
and on January 1, 1889, a new bank was started 
at Lake Crystal by Marston, Larson and Davis, 
which proved a more permanent institution. 

In the fall of 1888 Prof. Eoese started a 
small commercial school in the Buckley block, 
Mankato. This school is lifted into prominence 
by reason of its being the forerunner of two 
educational institutions, which have since be- 
come great and permanent factors in the edu- 
cational work of this part of the state. 

In the fall of 1888 a company was formed 
to bore a deep well on the farm of Wm. E. Wil- 
liams, a few rods west of Minneopa Palls, in 
the hope of discovering natural gas. It was sunk 
tc the depth of 1,300 feet and an excellent flow 
of water was discovered, but no illuminating 

On February 6th, 1889, W. B. Davies was 
appointed the first District Court reporter in 
the county, which position he has held ever 
since. March, 1889, Mr. Broome sold the 
"Boebachter" to Geo. J. Bhler & Co., and in 
May the "Mankato Herald" was started at 
Mankato as a morning daily by Mr. Wells, of 
Delavan. Neither paper survived long. 

During the summer of 1889 Mapleton con- 
structed a system of water works. In July, 
1889, much interest was taken in the discovery 
of a mineral spring on the farm of J. W. 
Morse near the Le Sueur, on the line between 
Le Eay and Mankato Townships. 

On July 10, 1889, the county was startled by 
the sensational death of John Schwartz of Pleas- 
ant Mound by having his throat cut by a razor 
when in bed. John Lentz, a hired man, was his 
only bed fellow. He claimed the act was sui- 
cidal, but because of certain suspicious cir- 
cumstances Lentz was arrested, and after a 
long and hard legal battle was convicted of 
murder by a jury and sent to State Prison for 
life. After a few years, however, because of the 
uncertainty surrounding the case, he was par- 

On July 11, 1889, the "Diamond Flour Mill" 
of Lake Crystal was burned. It was owned at 
the time by Cray, Marston and Davis, but 
leased to McCarthy, Kingston & Co. As there 
was no insurance the loss fell heavily on its 
owners. The machinery had originally be- ' 
longed to the mill of Capt. Dickerson on Hoosier 
Lake, Mankato town. This same year, at Am- 
boy, Jacob PfafE built a new roller mill. The 


building being frame, 32x48 and three stories Garden Prairie, Garden City, Belleview, County 

high. Line, Sterling Center, Union, Little Cobb, In- 

The weather during these years was rather dian Lake, German, Medo, Rapidan, Winne- 

dry and all over the county deep wells were dug shiek. South Deeoria, Old Mapleton, Beauford, 

and windmills erected on nearly every farm. Prairie Eose, Beauford ISTo. and Ceresco. 

Over five hundred such wells were sunk in 1889 The ticket embraced a number of the offie- 

alone. ials of that time, and nearly all were endorsed 

August 1, 1889, E. P. Freeman of Mankato by one or the other of the two old parties, and 

was appointed receiver of the U. S. Land office ^vith two or three exceptions all were elected, 

at Marshall. In March, 1890, Grover C. Burt sold the 

In the spring of 1889 Andrew Friend and E. Mankato House corner to D. S. Stern as a site 

C. Bentel, an old miller from Wisconsin, for a clothing house. On March 23, the last 

bought the Butterfield mill, and removed and dinner was served in the ancient hostelry to 

remodeled the same as a roller mill. Great im- eighty guests, and the breakfast next morning 

provements were made this year at the Eapi- closed the career of this historic inn. For 

dan mill by S. H. Baker and C. H. Piper, thirty-five years it had been the leading hotel 

the proprietors. A tunnel 800 feet long was at our county seat and had been famous for 

dug and a dam 260 feet in length was con- its elaborate menues, and as the center of the 

structed. These improvements cost over $50,000 social and political life of our community, 

and the best water power in the county was On the site of this pioneer hotel was erected 

rendered much more efficient. during the summer the three story brick block 

Madison Lake, like Eagle Lake and Smith's of the Model clothing house at a cost of about 

Mill had become a great center for wood and $30,000, but on June 26, just as the founda- 

native lumber. Allyn and Tuller and Fitcher tions of the now building were being laid, Mr. 

and Murtaugh were shipping tens of thous- Burt, the proprietor of the old hotel, died, and 

ands of cords each winter. the contractor of the new edifice, Jacob Flachsen- 

In December, 1889 a large farmers institute har, was killed by a falling stone. Another sad 

was held at Mapleton lasting three days, and event of th's ^rear was the double drowning 

like gatherings were held dviring the year in in the Minnesota river on June 29, of the 

other parts of the county. Dr. J. C. Currier Attorney, P. A. Foster, and the shoe merchant, 

of Lake Crystal was quite active at these gath- Robert Lind. 

erings. At this time he had begun the publi- During the spring of 1890, C. A. Everhart, 

cation of the "Minnesota Horseman," a journal E. Eosenberger and Henry Kuhn fitted up the 

which he edited and published for some years, "old Globe Hotel at Mankato" into a candy 

The Farmers Alliance was at the flood tide of factory and under the name of C. A. Everhart 

its activity in the county during this period, and Co., started an industry, which has since 

During January, 1890, seven new Alliances been succeeded by two other manufactories much 

were organized and as many more in ' February, more pretentious. 

On the 8th of the latter month Peter Mc- At Mankato in April, 1890, J. H. Long & 

Grath was elected President, Chas. Barney, Co.. retired from the butter and ege: business. 

Vice President, F. M. Currier, Secretary and which thev had conducted for some years, while 

^I. M. Pratt Treasurer of the countv organi- Clements and Hoerr started in the same indus- 

Mtion. June 3, 1890, thirty Alliances met at trv. Cheese factories were in operation this 

Good Thunder and, on September 5, thev put vear. nS90'i at Manleton and Ea^le Lake, 

in nomination a full ticket of county officers. Creameries were, also, started at Good Thun- 

The Alliances present were: l\Iapleton No. 10, der. 

Lvra, Bunker Hill, Grapeland, Butternut Val- April 18. 1889, a fire at Eagle Lake destroved 

ley. Maple Bush. Lime, South East Mapleton, the store of Cummins and "Kellv. The buildincr 

Deeoria, Danville, Cambria, Mapleton, ISTo. 673. of Jennison Elevator Co., Etc. During the 



summer a stock company was organized com- 
posed of Horace Cummins, J. D. Humiston, 
P. H. Kelly and Chas. Howard and a new store 
building erected and occupied. 

May 5, 1890, the bill introduced by Hon. 
John Lind in congress dividing Minnesota into 
six Judicial Districts for the purpose of holding 
United States Court was approved by President 
Harrison. Mankato was designated as one of 
the six places for holding the court. 

On May 17, . 1890, the 25th anniversary of 
the founding of the Norwegian Lutheran church 
of Sterling was celebrated with appropriate 
services. The Jackson Lake Band, composed 
largely of young men of that church, played, 
ministers, who had been connected with the 
church, were present on the occasion, and an 
enjoyable and profitable time had. 

Other events of 1890, was the voting at Good 
Thunder of $5,000 in bonds to build a new 
school house, the voting of $30,000 in bonds by 
Mankato on Aug. 19, to build a new high 
school building. The building of a Linseed 
Oil Mill at Eapidan Mills, the building of a 
railway depot at Eapidan station and the re- 
inoval to Eagle Lake of the old Wooden Mill 
by Cummins and McBeth, and the remodeling 
of the same as a roller mill, giving that village 
its first flour mill. 

The money order system was inaugurated in 
June, 1890, at the St. Clair postoffice, and in 
January, 1891, at Eagle Lake, affording to those 
communities a much needed convenience. Feb. 
3, 1891, a post office was established at Eapi- 
c!a.n Mills, with W. D. Hall Jr., of the Lake 
Crystal Mirror as postmaster. July 1, of the 
same year another postoffice called "Hawkins" 
was started at old Mapleton with Mrs. Jennette 
Taylor in charge. 

A number of bands were started this year 
over the count)^, one at Amboy, one at St. 
Clair, and two or three in other places. 

Creameries were now beginning to multiply 
over the county. Mapleton, Lyra, St. Clair, 
Lake Crystal, Vernon Center and two or three 
other places were provided with these impor- 
tant industries. 

The winter of 1890-1 was very mild except 
for a little cold snap in March. February 18, 

1891, the Welsh held at Mankato one of their 
big Bistedfods, which was largely attended, 
Prof, W. P. Apmadoc of Chicago was the chief 
conductor and the music adjudicator. 

There was considerable talk about this time 
of gold being discovered in the Le Sueur. Mr. 
Welsh, a California gold miner, spent some 
days digging in the ravines near the Eed Jack- 
et bridge. In one of the little gullies he 
washed from the gravel at a depth of twelve 
to fifteen feet $62.50 of gold as he claimed. 
He then went to Duluth on some business and 
died there before returning to resume his min- 
ing. Others were considerably interested in 
hunting for gold and copper along this historic 

June 9, 1891, the Mankato Commercial Col- 
lege was started in the third story of the Model 
Block in Mankato. It was started by Prof. 
Paine as a branch of the "Northwestern College 
of Commerce and Institute of Shorthand," and 
professors, A. G. Matter and J. E. Brandrup 
were put in charge. At its opening there were 
only eight to ten scholars, but by today the 
school has grown to four or five hundred pu- 

Independence day, (1891), was celebrated at 
Good Thunder, Mapleton, St. Clair, Lake Crys- 
tal and Cambria. 

About the first of September, 1891, an Alli- 
ance paper called the "Good Thunder Herald" 
was started at Good Thunrlcr, the Mecca of 
that organization, by Frank Griffin. October 
13th, appeared the first number of the "Amboy 
Herald" with Carl Strom as manager and the 
Lake Crystal Mirror as publisher. The same 
fall the "Mankato Journal" started an annex 
at' Madison Lake, with J. K. Knapp as local 
editor. It was called "the Madison Lake 
Breeze." Having become the seat of a weekly 
newspaper, Madison Lake next aspired to be- 
come an independent village, and on Dec. 15, 
1891, voted to incorporate, and the organization 
became complete on January 5, 1892, when the 
following village officers were chosen: 

Trustees, T. B. Murtaugh, President, Lewis 
Fitch er, Wm. Durrin. 

Eecorder, J. K. Knapp. 

Treasurer, W. W, Zuell, 



Justices, J. S. Clear and J. B. Southwick. 

The year 1891 saw the chinch bug doing 
much damage to the crops; the caterpiller 
stripping much of the forest foliage of Man- 
kato, Decoria, and Beauford townships; the 
starting at Mankato by J. J. Anderson of the 
manufacture of cement blocks for sidewalks; tlie 
building at the same place of the Christian 
church; the dedication at the county seat of 
a new high school building, which cost $42,- 
934.97; the erection at the same place by 0. 
Cassidy and Mr. Mason of a large packing 
house 200x100 feet three stories high; the selec- 
tion of a site for a government building at 

]\rankato by Judge Thomas of Wisconsin, Judge 
Perkins of AVashington, and architect Edibrooke 
of Washington. $90,000 had been appropriated 
for the building the previous January by con- 

The building was slow in construction, and 
after being started, was enlarged and the ap- 
propriation increased to $150,000. The edi- 
fice was not completed until March, 1896. It 
is a large well built stone structure, with post 
office rooms below, and court rooms above. 

In Januar}', 1892, Kimble and Babcock were 
proprietors of the Vernon Mill, and Turner and 
Eedfern of the Cable Mills. 

M.e,CMORC»-» zn. -a.€^Nj 0*TV AA ' "PlT'&'pK SCH 

Ooi- HOC 


EVENTS OF 1893 to 1902— CHINCH BUGS 

On January 10, 1892, the Eapidan Flour homes of the county and each has a large cir- 

Mill and Oil Mill were burned. The flour mill cnlation in the adjoining counties, 

had been put up in 186G hj Silas Kenworthy A summer hotel was erected this season by 

& Co., at a cost of $15,000, and for years was Patrick Sheehan on Lake Washington. Other 

one of the most popular mills in the county, events of 1892 were: a malt house started at 

After the death of '\h\ Kenworthy in 1884 it ^fankato; a saw mill erected by Wm. Durrin 

was operated by his surviving partners and at Jladison Lake; a town hall built at Sterling 

sons-in-law, H. W. ilendenhall and James B. Center, and the construction of water works at 

Swan, until 1886, when Mr. Swan sold his Mapleton. The winter of 1892-3 was very cold, 

interest to S. H. Baker, who a year later On January 35, 1893. the Burns' Club met at 

bought out, also, i\Ir. Mendenhall's interest. the new Sterling town hall. 

He conducted it until 1890, when a stock March 2, 1893, Good Thunder voted to in- 

company was formed with a capital stock of corporate as a village. At Mankato this year 

$50,000, which purchased the mill and entire (1893) a new candy factory was started by 

business. This company built a dam across Eosenberger and Nobles; a cracker department 

the river, and tunneled through a point of was added to its business liy C. A. Everhart 

the bluff. An oil mill was also Iniilt adjoin- & Co. ; two large ^vini;s wore added to the nor- 

ing the flour mill. The stockholders were G. mal school building ; the Stahl House, a three 

P. Piper, B. E. Baker, E. S. Warner, C. H. story brick, 66x60 fcot. was erected by Joseph 

Piper, J. W. Dilley and S. H. Baker. Both Stahl on the site of the old Minnesota House; 

mills employed about twenty-five men, and had the ^Fankato polire were dressed in helmets and 

a capacity of seventy-five barrels per day of uniforms for the first time; the corner stone 

flour, and 300 bushels of flax. of the present Presliyterian church was laid 

In February, 1892, a 3'oung Men's Invest- July 3: the suspension of the Banks on August 

ment Co., was organized at IMankato, which 4, and their reopening on Seiitember 7 ; the 

during the coming summer built a large three murder of Harry Walravcn on September 3 ; 

story brick office block on the corner of Wal- and the installation of the new signal service 

nut and Second streets. The same spring a flags were other events. 

similar plan was adopted in Decoria by B. H. The coming into power of the Democratic 
Gerlich and others for the erection of a public part}^ and the inauguration of Grover Cleve- 
hall in that town. During this same spring land as President on ^larch 4, 1893, stirred up 
there was much talk of a "Mankato and North- the asjiirants for postmasters in that party in 
eastern Eailwa}^' a company for the promotion every linmlet in our county. To settle the dis- 
of the enterprise having been formed at Man- putcs elections were lield in many of the vil- 
kato, but nothing came of the matter. lages to let the Democratic voters of each corn- 
September 1, 1892, was issued the first num- munity determine wliom they wanted. This 
ber of the "^lankato Daily Eeview ' — the second was done at Eagle Lake, Garden City, Lak? 
great daily of our county. Today the Daily Free Crystal, ]\Iap]eton, Good Thunder, and possibly 
Press or Daily Eeview enter the majority of the one or two other places. 




In 1893 a number of Lake Crystal business 
men formed a boat club, built a pavilion by 
the lake, and beside a number of oar and sail 
boats, two small steamers were launched. One 
of the latter named the "New Era" was thirty- 
six feet long and would carry twenty-five per- 
sons. The other steamer was called "The Crys- 
tal." Other events of 1893 at Lake Crystal 
were: the erection by Graif Bros. & Co., of a 
flour mill, 40x60 and four stories high of brick 
and stone; and the beginning late in the year 
of the construction of water works, for which 
$10,000 in bonds were issued. 

At Smith's Mill the German Lutherans early 
in February, 1893, built a church costing 
$3,300, and during the summer the Presbyterians 
of Amboy erected a $5,000 house of worship. 
At the election of 1863, Daniel Buck of Man- 
kato was elected a Judge of the Supreme Court 
of the State. 

The year 1894 was again very dry and the 
chinch bugs were very destructive. Prof. 
Otto Lugger, the state entomologist, was kept 
busy with various experiments for their destruc- 
tion, but without much avail. 

On June 13, 1894, the Welsh of our county 
held an old settlers picnic at Lake Crystal. The 
papers presented on the occasion were of such 
historical value that it was determined to pub- 
lish them in book form. Eevs. Thos. E. 
Hughes and David Edwards and Messrs. Thos. 
Hughes and H. G. Eoberts were appointed a 
committee for the purpose. The matter grew on 
the hands of this editorial board, and it was 
concluded to make the work cover the history 
of the Welsh in Minnesota. The book was pro- 
fusely illustrated and issued in a large vol- 
ume of 439 pages in July, 1895. It is a very 
valuable compilation of the history of that na- 
tionality in our county. 

July 4, 1894, Amboy lost its mill and rail- 
way depot by fire. During this and the follow- 
ing year, a large number of co-operative cream- 
eries were started by the farmers all over the 
county In 1893 such a creamery had been 
started in Butternut Valley and a post office 
created in the vicinity, called "Butternut," with 
Christian Strom as postmaster. In August, 
1894, a general store was started there on the 

cooperative plan, with Charlie Johnson as man- 
ager. A Lutheran church was also built, a 
blacksmith shop opened and the place soon be- 
came a little center for that community. 

This year (1894) Gen. J. H. Baker held 
the first of a series of old settler's reunions on 
July 4, at his Oak Cliff Farm in Eapida'n. 

This year the County built its present Jail and 
sheriff's residence at a cost of $'2.S,000.00, which 
was completed, and occupied by D. T. Bowen, 
then sheriff' of the county in June, 1895. 

The year 1894 saw at Mankato the additions 
to the Normal school completed, the Security 
Fiats, the Patterson-Payne Block, and the malt- 
ing house built, and the Presbyterian church 
enclosed. It also saw a new public library start- 
ed in the Meagher building at the same place. 
At Amboy a good school house was built and 
a fine Presbyterian church; and at Lake Crystal 
an electric light plant was installed by Graif 
Brothers. During the fall and winter of 1893-4 
there were important religious revivals at the 
M. E. Church in Mankato, under Eev. J. P. 
Stout; in the Kennedy Bridge neighborhood, 
in the Ward neighborhood of Beauford and 
Medo. In July, 1894, a summer school convened 
at ^lajileton with over 110 teachers in attend- 

This year (1894) the bicycle craze was at 
its height and most of the county was on 
wheels. Bicycle clubs were formed and cen- 
tury rides v.'ere very fashionable. 

On January 25, 1895, the famous Burns Club 
met at the village of Mapleton, where its meet- 
ings have since been held. 

March 28, 1895, Company F, 2nd Eeg't State 
Militia was mustered out. This year (1895) 
witnessed the building at Mankato of the Eay 
Block, the Glass Block by Longini and Thorns, 
the Fred Kron Block, and the Free Press (or 
Hunt) Block; at Amboy, the erection at a cost 
of $15,000.00 of a new flour mill, by Peterson 
& Fuller, an Odd Fellows block and a water 
system; at Good Thunder, of a new Lutheran 
church, dedicated with much rejoicing on Sep- 
tember 20; at i\Iadison Lake, a new Catholic 
church edifice, dedicated with due ceremony on 
October 27, and at Eapidan station, a hall 
erected by the young men of the vicinity. 



March 10, 1895, a morning daily paper was 
started at Mankato by W. C. Wilson and J. E. 
Hall, called the "Mankato Morning News." Wil- 
son soon got into some scrape and had to leave 
town. The paper was sold the following Oc- 
tober to Carl E. Eastwood. John Eiddes was 
local editor, Arthur Eose night editor, and J. 
E. Hall in charge of job department. Later 
Alexander Fiddcs of Jackson became its pro- 
prietor and J. E. Eeynolds became editor. Un- 
der this management the paper became quite 
popular for Mr. Eeynolds was a good writer 
and news gatherer. Through want of suffi- 
cient capital and patronage, however, the paper 
finally suspended in September, 189G. 

During 189.5 and 1896 a large number of 
Camps of Modern Woodmen were organized over 
the county. 

The Populist party was quite strong in our 
county this year (1895), and on June 1st, a 
populist league was organized at Good Thunder 
with Peter McGrath as President, M. M. Pratt, 
A'ice-President, E. W. Parker, Secretary, and 
W. M. Smith, Treasurer. On July 4, a big 
Populist demonstration met at the same place 
at which addresses were given by Hon. L. C. 
Long of Nobles Co., E. W. Parker, and Father 

On October 1, 1895, The ilankato Street 
Eailway was torn up and abandoned for want 
of sufficient patronage. j\fuch effort was made 
to have it changed into an electric line, but 
these efforts failed. C'. A. E\erhart & Co., sold 
their candy and cracker factory this year to a 
Kansas City compan}-, and five years theroal'tcr 
it was closed, after the departure of F. J. 
Royer, the last manager. In October F. il. Cur- 
rier bought out the interest of John C. Nobles 
in the other candy factory and the firm of 
Bosenberger & Currier began their prosperous 

S. J. Wright had for some time conducted a 
fruit commission house at ilankato but in No- 
vember, 1895, he sold out to the Mankato Fruit 
Commission Co., of which he became a member. 
This year the Northwestern Telephone Company 
built a line to Lake Crystal. 

On February 8. 1896, fire at Mapleton wiped 
out six of its stores, embracing nearly half of 

its mercantile establishments. Among the losses 
were the bank and store of J. E. Brown, the 
stores of Sonneyson & Schoyen, Jno. Johnson, 
Geo. E. Crane, C'has. Dietz and Ira iloore. Un- 
daunted by their misfortunes the property own- 
ers as soon as spring opened let contracts for 
much larger and better buildings than before. 
J. B. Nelson & Co., of Mankato obtained the 
contracts for the business blocks erected for J . 

E. Brown, John Johnson, Geo. E. Crane, Ms- 
sonic Lodge and James McLaughlin. All were 
two story brick structures. 

The state census of 1895 raised the popula- 
tion of Mankato above the 10,000 limit, and 
accordingly on February 7, 1896. the saloon li^ 
censes at the county seat were advanced to $1,- 
000.00 per annum. During 1895-6-7 a bitter 
fight was waged by the citizens of Mankato 
against the Manliato Gas and Electric (.'o., be- 
cause of the alleged exorbitant rates charged. 

The sentiment was very strong in favor of a 
municipal lighting plant, and $10,000.00 in 
bonds were voted to install such a plant. Be- 
cause of the financial panic then prevailing the 
council failed to dispose of the bonds. A few 
were opposed to municipal lighting, and in be- 
half of these L. G. if. Fletcher brought an in- 
junction suit to restrain the city from dispos- 
ing of the linnds. In February, 1897, this suit 
was decided in favor of the city. From the fall 
of 1890 until the fall of 1897 the city was 
lighted with gasoline lamps. At last on Sept. 
10, 1897, a settlement was made with the gas 
comjiany, which gave both the city and private 
consumers a great reduction in price. 

On Fein-uary 31, 1896, the New Hail Insur- 
ance Co., was organized at Amboy, of whicli 

F. H. Hilliker was president, E. G. Cross, sec- 
retary, F. N. Ware, Treasurer, and 0. G. Ches- 
ley superintendent. 

In April, 1896, the iladison Lake Breeze was 
started by H. G. Maxfield, later the name was 
changed to the '"Madison Lake Mirror." 

During 1895 and 1896 Mankato agitated with 
success the removal of the tracks of the Chi- 
cago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Eailway 
from Fourth and Van Brunt street*, in the 
heart of the resident section of the city, to their 
present location along the river front. A new 



union depot was built by this company and 
the Northwestern Eailway during the summer^ 
near the foot of Alain street, which depot was 
first occupied December 6, 1896. The Blue Earth 
County Territorial Historical Society was organ- 
ized at Mankato through the efforts of James 
Shoemaker. This society has every June held its 
annual picnic at Sibley Park, Mankato, and the 
events have been very popular with the old set- 
tlers of the county. 

The year 1896 witnessed at Mankato, be- 
sides a big Eourth of July celebration, the 
building of the present Welsh Cal. Meth. 
Church, and the improvement of Sibley Park; 
at South Bend, on May 1st, W. W. Davis sold 
his store to A. Lincoln; at Mapleton the bank 
of J. B. Brown failed, and in September a new 
State Bank was organized by Judge Buck and 
a number of others, and an electric light plant 
was installed there by Seller Bros.; at Garden 
City, on October 6, the second old settler's re- 
union was held in connection with County Pair. 
These reunions of the old pioneers held in con- 
nection with the County Fairs, continued for 
five or six years with much success and then 
were dropped. The Christian denomination at 
Garden City built this year their present church. 
At Madison Lake a bank started and a bank 
building was erected. A telephone line was built, 
also from Eapidan to xVmboy, bringing the coun- 
ty ever closer together in a business and social 

January 15, 1897, the farmers of Deeoria, 
McPherson and vicinity organized the "Farm- 
ers United Township Mutual Hail Insurance 
Company,"-' with Andrew French president, and 
N. Juliar, Treasurer. 

Early in 1897, the Danville postoffice was 
moved to the Star Creamery in that township 
and Ira Moore, who had opened a store there, 
appointed postmaster, while the Sherman post 
office was discontinued. 

By a legislative act approved March 13, 
1897, the counties of Faribault and Martin were 
detached from the sixth Judicial District to 
form a new district, leaving only Blue Earth 
and Watonwan Counties in the Sixth District. 

During 1896-7 there were dozens of incen- 
diary fires at Mankato, nearly all being in barns. 

On May 7, 1897 the new livery barn of Martin 
Wiltgen was burned. April 17, 1897', the Odd 
Fellows block occupitd by the dry goods store 
of McConnell & Cummins, the grocery of A. B. 
Ewing and a number of offices burned, and on 
May 21, the big wholesale grocery block of L. 
Patterson was entirely destroyed by fire. 

The winter of 1896-7 had been rather cold, 
with a heavy fall of snow and the Minnesota 
^yas very high in the spring. April 21st, the 
"Henrietta" arrived at Mankato from Still- 
water, the first boat for a number of years. She 
fl'as a stern wheeler, 170 feet long, had three 
decks and was capable of carrying 300 passen- 
gers. The arrival of a steamboat being now a 
novelty at Mankato, she attracted much atten- 
tion and next day carried a large excursion to 
St. Peter. March 9, 1897, the first number of 
the "St. Clair Star" was issued by W. J. Ward, 
but the paper was soon discontinued. About 
the middle of May, of the same year the "Ver- 
non Center News was started by M. H. Gder 
and is a live paper to this day. About the 
last of July of this same year another paper 
was started at Eagle Lake, called the Eagle 
Lake News, by F. A. Swayne, but it was short 

May 1, 1897, five sisters of the Sorrowful 
Mother came from Marshfield, Wis., to take 
charge of the Tourtellotte Hospital at Man- 
kato. May 10, 1897, a tornado or cyclone 
passed through Medo completely demolishing a 
school house, the Alma City Creamery, and the 
Little Cobb postoffice and store owned by John 
Hanson. For a few days thereafter the peo- 
ple of Medo were very busy building cyclone 
cellars. June 11th of this year a rather unique 
robber's den was discovered under the Yeager 
school house in Eapidan. A young fellow 
named Silas Grey, had managed to excavate a 
room under the school house, boarded its sides 
up neatly, and covered the floor with carpets 
and made him a sumptuous home, the entrance 
to whicli was entirely hidden. Here he would 
spend the day, and at night he would appro- 
priate farmers teams and prowl about in quest 
of booty and bring it to his den. Caught fin- 
ally with a stolen bicycle and lodged in jail, 



he revealed his hiding place to D. T. Bowen, 
the sheriflE. 

The year ]8!)7 was rather noted for its dis- 
asters in the history o-f our county and especi- 
ally ^Mankato. Wo have already spoken of 
three big fires, which occurred in tlic early 
spring. In June came the failure of Longini 
& Thorns of the Glass Block. This was fol- 
lowed by the removal in October of the machin- 
ery of the Linseed Oil works to St. Paul and 
the closing in 1899 of one of the most impor- 
tant industries of the city. Later in the fall 
came the failure of John A Willard, followed 
quickly by the failure of the JIankato Knitting 
Mill, the Mankato Fibre Ware Co., and of the 
Willard and Polchow brick yards. This same 
vear witnessed the death of John P. Meagher 
and John A. Willard, than whom no two men 
had been more prominently connected with the 
financial, commercial and industrial interests 
of the county. October 5, 1897, the store of 
A. Lincoln at South Bend was burned, and 
with it the South Bend postoffice. The 
chinch' bugs and the hog cholera still prevailed 
upon the farms of the county. To these set- 
backs we have to add the great financial depres- 
sion of those days. But in spite of the business 
gloom and many reverses the year was not ^^'ith- 
out its sunny spots and the substantial assur- 
ance of hope and progress. 

During the summer at ifankato L. Patterson 
& Co., built them a larger and more commorlious 
business block than ever; the Odd Fellows be- 
gan in September the erection of their fine 
office block; M. A. Sherk & Son built their 
large grocery store on the corner of Front and 
Liberty streets, and Rosenberger and Currier 
began the erection of their present large candy 
factory, 44x100 feet, with annex in the rear 44x 
32 ; September 28, 1897, the Mankato weekly Post 
became a semi-weekly paper. In October of 
the same year, the Citizens Telephone Company 
was started, and organized the following Feb- 
ruary, which company has since grown to a 
big institution. 

The creameries of the county were continu- 
ing to multiply, and dairying had taken the 
place of wheat raising as the chief agricultural 
industry of the county. The German Luther- 

ans built a church at Eapidan station this year, 
(1897); and at a Sunday school convention 
held at Garden City in June, forty-four schools 
reported H.'i-I-I scholars and 439 oft'icers and 
teachers. As these scliools represented only the 
English speaking part of the community they 
did not Ijy a long way cover the Bible students 
of the county. 

In January, 1898, the Woodmen's Hall was 
completed at Garden City, and Over & Clough 
opened a new store there. At Mankato J. B. 
& D. Richards purchased the glass block and 
moved their stock of dry goods thereto. Early 
in Februar}', 1898, Kleinschmidt Bros., opened 
at ilankuto a factory for interior wood work, 
which prospered for a time. The county Su- 
perintendent of schools had started the plan 
of holding annual declamatory contests at Man- 
kato, open to all the country schools. The 
third contest was held February 25th of this 
yea,r. March 2, 1898, the large four stoi7 
brick block of the young Men's Investment Co., 
of Mankato was destroyed by fire. Hon. W. J. 
Bryan, the Democratic candidate for president, 
gave an address at Mankato in January of this 
year. The winter of 1897-8 was quite open 
and seeding began about the middle of March. 
The ground was quite dry and dust storms were 

St. Patrick's day was duly observed at Man- 
kato and Jlapleton as usual, ilarch 18th, the 
livery barn of B. D. Pay and Sons was burned, 
lieing one of the eleven incendiary fires at Man- 
kato during the year ending April 1, 1898. 
The autlior of these fires at Mankato, which 
continued for a number of years, was never dis- 
covered. April l.j, 1898, a new Militia com- 
pany was organized at Mankato of which W. L. 
Comstock -nas chosen Captain, J. E. Hegger- 
ness 1st Lieutenant, and G. Alba Lewis 2nd 
Lieutenant. April 29th of the same year Col. 
C. E. Johnson and forty-five recruits from Man- 
kato joined the 3rd Minnesota regiment and 
soon left for the Spanish war. 

At the County and State fairs of these days 
J. S. Parks of Pleasant Mound put on exhibi- 
tion 240 different varieties of apples raised in 
his orchard, demonstrating conclusively the pos- 
sibility of our county in apple culture. Early 



in August J. A. Elittie of Mankato was appoint- 
ed Eeferee in Bankruptcy for this district. In 
August the fire companies of Mankato sold out 
to the city, which has since maintained a paid 
fire department of its own. During the fall 
the city erected its present fire station, which 
was completed by March 1, 1899. 

During October and November, 1898, street 
fairs were held at Amboy, Mapleton, Good 
Thunder and Mankato. 

October 23, 1898, President Edward Searing 
of the Normal School died suddenly at St. Paul. 
He was one of the best educators in the state 
and under his able management the Mankato 
Normal had become famous. December 16, 

1898, Prof. C. H. Cooper of Carleton College 
was elected as his successor and still maintains 
for the school its standard of excellence. 

Early in January, 1899, E. M. Pope was 
appointed Public Examiner by John Lind, the 
new Democratic governor. 

The Chicago and Northwestern Eailway de- 
termined to build up the Minnesota valley and 
thus straighten its line between Jlankato and 
New Ulm some fourteen miles. To this end 
a corporation called the "Mankato and New 
Ulm Eailway Co.," was formed on January 16, 

1899. Surveys were at once made, right of way 
purchased, the grading begun in May, 1899, and 
the road completed by May 29, 1900, when the 
first train was run over it. The building of 
this new Eailway added two new townsites to 
our county, Judson and Cambria, both of which 
were laid out early in the spring of 1900, by 
the railway company. A depot, elevator, store, 
blacksmith shop, creamery and church were 
built at Judson; and at Cambria, a depot, ele- 
vator, store, blacksmith shop, creamery. Wood- 
men's Hall and two or three residences were 

Through the efl^orts of Dr. J. W. Andrews 
and other Mankato physicians the St. Joseph 
Catholic hospital was secured for Mankato and 
built during the summer of 1899, at a cost of 
$50,000 and dedicated on Dec. 5th of that year. 
It was put in charge of a corps of sisters and 
has proved a great blessing to the sick of our 
county and vicinity. 

In January Geo. W. Scherer succeeded Wm. 
Dreher as editor of the "Mankato Post." 

In March an eight inch Howitzer— a captured 
Spanish Gun — was secured for the G. A. E. 
of Mankato, through congressman McCleary 
and placed in Lincoln Park in May, 1900, where 
it still remains. In May, 1899, the Cannon 
Valley railroad was sold by the Minneapolis and 
St. Louis Eailway Co., to the Great Western Eail- 
way Co. This brought the ofliice of the Wells, 
Fargo Express into Mankato and Madison Lake. 
June 10, 1899, 800 people attended the seventh 
annual picnic of the early settlers association 
of Blue Earth County, at. Garden City, and 
three days later a great multitude attended the 
Woodmen's picnic at Mankato. 

During the summer of 1899 the M'. E. church 
of Amboy built their present fine edifice. In 
May of the same year the Amboy-Sterling 
Telephone Co., was organized with a capital of 
$10,000, by L. W. Wells, Willoughby Wells, C. 
H. Brace, Wm. Ellis, C. J. Louer and J. E. 
Merrill; July 1, of the same year the private 
bank at Amboy was changed to "The State 
Bank of Amboy" with a capital of $25,000, its 
President being David Secor, Vice President, 
Frank P. Ware and Cashier, S. C. Berner. 

In August Vernon Center voted $3,500 in 
bonds to help build an $8,000 school building, 
which was not put up until 1902, when the 
school district became independent. In August, 
1899, the Vernon mill, then owned by Mrs. C. 
M. Green was struck by lightning and burned. 
At Lalie Crystal the Welsh Cal. Methodists 
erected their present fine house of worship. At 
Eapidan Thos. L. Eodgers was erecting a three 
story new flour mill on the site of the old 
Kenworthy mill. It was completed the follow- 
ing spring and has a capacity of 50 to 75 bar- 
rels per day, and makes an excellent grade of 

This year, (1899), saw the telephone extend- 
ed to Beauford; the "St. Clair Star" suspended; 
the "Eagle Lake News" sold to M. H. Galer; 
a carnival in September at Mapleton; and the 
organization of the Standard Brewing Co., at 

As indicating the dairy production of the 
county, ten creameries only shipped in 1898, 



860,000 pounds of butter. In 1899, there were 
19 creameries in the county and one third of 
the farmers were creamery patrons. 

Near the close of the year a well written and 
finely illustrated volume entitled "The History 
of St. Paul and St. Peter's church of Mankato 
by Father Von Packish was issued by the Post 
Printing Company. The book is in German 
and gives, in addition to the complete annals of 
the church, much valuable information about 
the early German settlements of the county. 

A long succession of _ very dry years had re- 
sulted in many of the shallow lakes of the 
county becoming dry. Among these were Jack- 
son Lake and Eagle Lake. The village of Ani- 
boy was anzious to maintain the former, and 
the people of Eagle Lake village felt in the 
same way about their lake, but the farmers, who 
bordered upon the lakes and were adding to 
their farms by the recession of the waters looked 
difierently upon the matter. In both instances 
one party accused the other of tampering 
with the outlets of these lakes and in 1900 liti- 
gations were had in the courts. A decided 
change in the rainfall of the locality came in 
a year or two and all quarrels of this kind were 
drowned in the abundant floods which followed. 

Since the failure of the standard cement 
company in 1893, the works had been operat- 
ed by P. H. Carney, wlio up to January 1, 
1900, had produced 452,261 barrels of cement. 
Since then for many years the works have been 
under the management of Harry E. Carney. 

In March, 1900, the saw mill of Cords & 
Chase "in McPherson, and the old Eoekey flour 
mill at Mankato burned. The Cal)le Mill was, 
also, sold to Joseph Kreuer and Albert Schwartz. 

In April, 1900, Barnes purchased the Eagle 
Lake News, of M. H. Galer but was suc- 
ceeded in a year or so by H. C. Cummins & 
Son. The Garden City Progress was a new 
paper of this year edited by A. I. Shaver. 

May 14, of this year was inaugurated the 
first rural mail route in the County. It started 
from Amboy and embraced thirty-six square 
miles of territory and served a population of 
660 persons. A. B. Burgess was appointed its 
first carrier. In September of the same year 
the second Eural Eoute was established at Ver- 

non Center, and the thii-d from Mankato in 

In April J. B. and D. Eichards purchased 
the Glass Block at Mankato and occupied it 
with their store. In June, the Woodmen's Hall 
at Eapidan was built; and at Lake Crystal was 
held the second annual commencement of its 
High School. 

Early in August the Amboy Herald was sold 
by J. A. Krohn to- H. C. Hotaling and James 
B. Brown, the latter assuming the management 
and, in September, 1902, becoming sole proprie- 

October 11, 1900, the South Bend Hotel and 
Store were burned, wiping out about all there 
remained of that ancient burg. The hotel had 
been erected in 1857, by M. Thompson, and 
the store of D. P. Davia and son about 18G7. 
When burned tlie buildings had been bought and 
occupied about a month by A. J. Dethier for 
mercantile purposes, and there was some suspic- 
ion as to the origin of the fire. 

The Mankato ilorning Bulletin was a small 
sheet, which was published for a time at our 
county seat in those days. 

November 14, 1900, occurred the ■ death of 
John C. Wise, Sr., the founder of the Mankato 
Weekly Eecord, and of the Daily and Weekly 
Eeview. For over forty-one years he had been 
the great Democratic leader and editor of our 
county. A man of splendid Journalistic ability, 
excellent character and greatly beloved. No 
one was better acquainted with the county and 
its history than he, and to his exhaustlees 
store of local information as recorded by him 
week by week many of the facts of this his- 
tory are due. He possessed a wonderful mem- 
ory of persons, events and dates, and he 
never published a statement, until he had fully 
verified it. He was fond of truth and not sen- 
sational rumors, and for this reason his paper 
was more reliable than most newspapers, and 
possessed a peculiar historical value. 

In February, 1901, Andrew Carnegie, the 
great Pittsburg philanthropist, offered Mankato 
$40,000 to build a public Library, provided a 
site was furnished and the city guaranteed 
$4,000 a year in perpetuity for its maintenance. 
The conditions were accepted and the site se- 



cured this year, and in April, 1902, the con- 
tract for the building was let to J. B. Nelson 
& Co., for $30,082. June 24, 1902, the corner stone laid and on June 23, 1903, the building 
was opened. The Mankato Public Library had 
been established pursuant to law, April 7, 1894, 
by a resolution of the Common Council, and 
$2,000 annually was appropriated for its main- 
tenance. A board of nine directors was ap- 
pointed by the mayor. Eooms were rented up- 
stairs in the J. P. Meagher building, 132 
South Front St., where on February 6, 1895, 
the library was first opened, with 2,000 vol- 
umes on its shelves. Miss Minnie McGraw was 
appointed librarian, which position she held 
until 1906, when she resigned and Miss Maude 
Van Buren succeeded her. Domiciled in this fine 
building, splendidly equipped for its purpose, 
the Mankato Public Library has become one of 
the most useful institutions of our county seat. 

In March, 1901, a Farmers Co-operative Ware- 
house Company was organized at Good Thunder 
and Peter McGrath made its president. April 
30, a cheese company was organized at Ceresco, 
with S. H. Thurston, as president; Julius Kop- 
ishke, vice president; Chas. Russell, secretary; 
and J. E. Noble, general manager. 

April 30, 1901, Garden City voted to incorpor- 
ate as a village by a vote of 49 to 41, and on 
May 21, Frank P. Fairchild was elected the 
first President of its board of trustees. Aftev 
three or four years the village franchise was 
surrendered as the place was too small to main- 
tain a separate organization. 

May 21, of the same year a Norwegian Lu- 
theran parochial school was started in Eapidan 
with Carl Flo as teacher. 

May 22, 1901, occurred the sad death of James 
Shoemaker by being run over by a railway v;ar 
at Mankato. He had been a prominent figure 
in both city and county for years and was 
president of the l^Iankato Beard of Trade and 
of The Territorial Old Settlers Society at the 
time of his tragic death. 

May 21, 1901, the Mankato military company 
were, captain, Schuyler Hawks; first lieutenant. 
Guards as Company B'. Its officers at the time 
were, captain, Schuyler Ila^\ks; fii'=t lieutenant, 
P. E. Brown; second lieutenant, Geo. Kenney. 

During this year (1901) the Great Western 
Railway ]3urcha:?cd a right of -way through the 
city of Mankato in order to join the C. St. P. 
and Milwaukee Railway Co., in a imion depot 
near the foot of Jackson Street. 

October 8, 1901, the saw mill of Wm. Dur- 
rin at Madison Lake was burned. 

October 22, 1901, the old settlers of Madison 
Lake and vicinity held a reunion, which was 
largely attended and enjoyed. 

The same October the Graif Brotliers of 
Lake Crystal put in a local Telephone exchange 
in that village. In November, 1901, the post- 
ofEice department had thirteen new rural roixtes 
under consideration for Blue Earth County, all 
of which were soon there after established — 
5 at Mankato, 4 at Mapleton, 2 at Amboy and 
1 each at Eagle Lake and Lake Crystal. 

During the summer of 1901 the Railway 
company put in a water system at Amboy. The 
Eobinson Block was also remodeled into a hotel 
at that village. 

November 18, 1901, the Lake Crystal Mill 
was destroyed by fire, but Avas again rebuilt by 
a stock company in'the fall of 1902, at a cost 
of $28,000. 

In the fall of 1901 the Texas Fuel Oil Com- 
pany was organized, but proved a disastrous 
fake to all investors. 

Feb. 15, 1902, two rural routes were estab- 
lished from Amboy with J. L. Decker and 0. 
B. Kelly as carriers, and the postofliccs of 
Pleasant Mound and Willow Creek were dis- 
continued. Two routes, were, also, established 
from Lake Crystal. 

In March of this year (1902) The Free 
Press Printing Co., was purchased by Frank W. 
Hunt, Michael D. Fritz and Jay W. True. 

In March, the Gamble, Robinson Company 
opened a branch wholesale fruit house at Man- 

This summer (1902) the Barber Asphalt 
company paved Broad street in the city of 
Mankato. Most of the property owners were 
greatly opposed to the paving and much ex- 
penHiNc litigation arose over the matter be- * 
tween them and the city, which proved very 
unfortunate and disastrous to both parties. 



30, 1903, a celebration of the fortieth 
ariiiiversary of the Jackson Lake Norwegian 
Lutheran church was held at the Anderson 
Grove and at the church. It was largely at- 
tended by the people who had been connected 
with the church and their children, and was in 
every way a successful gathering. 

During -the same month the "I'irst National 
Bank of Lake Crystal" was organized, largely 
through the efforts of J. J. McQuire, who be- 
came its cashier. A fine brick block was erected 
by it this year costing nearly $20,000. 

An event of special prominence this year was 
the celebration of Mankato's Golden Jubilee. 
The program covered five days — June 30 to 
July 4th. The first day was devoted to Church 
histories, the second to the "Educational 
Growth of the City," the third day took up the 
"Industrial Growth of the City" and the fourth 
was denominated "Old Settlers Day" and was 
the great day of the feast so far as the crowd 
and outward display wore concerned. A mag- 
nificent parade, headed by a number of brass 
bands, proceeded to Sibley Park. In it were 
Governor Van Sant and his stafE, ex-governor 
Ramsey, City ofiicials, old settler organizations, 
Representatives of the State Historical Society, a 
large number of distinguished guests from vari- 
ous parts of the state, gorgeous floats emblem- 
atic of the city's progress, etc. At the park 
there was a good time generally, and in the 
evening a splendid banquet was served to over 
300 invited guests. The last day was the na- 
tion's natal day and was devoted to patriotic 
doings. The main fourth of July speech was 
given by Dr. J. Merritte Driver. The festivi- 
ties had been in charge of a committee of nine, 
namely: Gen. J. H. Baker, Dr. J. W. Andrews, 
Geo. M. Palmer, Thos. Hughes, P. M. Cur- 
rier, M. B. Haynes, H. P. Jenson, J. E. Rey- 
nolds and August Marchner. An important fea- 

ture of the Jubilee was the "Relic Room" which 
occupied the entire lower floor of the Pay 
building, now used as a candy factory. So 
valuable were the papers presented at this ju- 
bilee that the committee concluded to publish 
them in book form and Gen. J. H. Baker, Thos. 
Hughes, C. A. Chapman and M. B. Haynes 
were appointed a publication committee. With- 
in a year the book was published by the Free 
Press Printing Co. under the title of "Semi- 
centennial of Mankato." Besides the excellent 
historical papers referred to, there was added 
a large collection of portraits and biographical 
sketches of eminent Mankato people past and 
present. A feature of the old settlers' day pro- 
gTam was the presentation of a large granite 
monument by James Gilfillan of St. Paul to 
mark the last resting place of Senator ilorton 
S. Wilkinson in Glenwood Cemetery, Mankato. 

In July, 1902, the ]\lapleton j\Iill was pur- 
chased by W. A. Hanna, Wm. Morrow, H. C. 
Hotaling and H. M. Quinn. 

At Mankato in 1902, B. D. Pay and Son 
transformed their new livery barn into a candy 
factory and the "Pay Candy Co." was started, 
which has since grown into an important en- 
terprise. The National Bank of Commerce 
wiis, also, started at Mankato this year. C. L. 
Oleson being the main instigator and has since 
been its manager. The Mankato State Bank, also, 
remodeled its corner into a fine modern 
three story building. In July of this year J. 
E. Reynolds succeeded C. Hobart on the editorial 
staff of the Mankato Daily and Weekly Free 

October 1, 1902, a new rural route was estab- 
lished from Good Thunder, and on April 1, 
two new routes had been started from Madison 
Lake. At Mapleton this year (1902), Fred 
Gerlich erected a $10,000 hotel; the village put 




in a sewerage system at a cost of $7,400 ; an 
addition was built to the school house costing 
over $7,000 and an elegant new Catholic church 
was constructed at an expense of over $10,000. 
This church is unique in its architecture. It 
is circular in form and tasty and commodious. 
It was dedicated on June 23, 1902, by Bishop 
Cotter. At Lake Crystal, beside the new Bank 
building and new Mill, an addition was made 
to the high school, costing $7,000. 

December 15, 1902, tlie first train over the 
new extension of the Chicago, St. Paul and 
Milwaukee Eailway reached Le Sueur Center 
from Mankato and on August 15, 1903, the 
first train over this road reached St. Paul, and 
the following February the Union depot for it 
and the Great Western Eailway was finished at 

In December, 1902, a new telephone line com- 
neeted Mapleton with Cream. In January, 
1903, "The Willow Creek Telephone Co." was 
organized, and in March of same year the "Min- 
nesota Valley Parmers ' Mutual Telephone" was 
built in the JSTorthwest corner of the county. In 
June of the same year the Maple Eiver Tele- 
phone was organized. By August 1903 more 
than half of our county was supplied with the 
free delivery system and in a short time the 
entire county was so supplied. When the Nine- 
teenth Century closed no farmstead in the coun- 
ty had mail delivery or a telephone. In three 
or four years thereafter every farmer had his 
daily mail delivered at his gate, and hundreds 
of farm houses in every part of the country 
were supplied with telephones. The long isola- 
tion of farm life was at last a thing of the 
past. The old time postoffice and Weekly paper 
are now no more, but each farmer takes his 
daily paper and visits or transacts business in 
town or country by telephone. 

In January, 1903, "The Pioneer Mercantile 
Co." of Lake Crystal was formed with A. W. 
Johnson as president and C. C. Jenkins as 
manager. In March of the same year the First 
National Bank of Mapleton was organized by 
W. A. Hanna, L. Troendle, J. E. Norton, Wm. 
Strobel, E. E. Hanna, and John Steel. M. W. 
Mattecheck was a prime mover in the organiza- 

tion. Frederick H. Morlock was made ite cash- 

June 22, 1903, the corner stone of the present 
commodious German Lutheran school build- 
ing at Mankato was laid, and on September 20, 
the present large church edifice of the same 
denomination was dedicated. 

In October, 1903, the Mapleton State Bank 
found itself in trouble, through the miscon- 
duct of its cashier, x\. A. Buck, but was able 
to adjust its affairs and re-open on November 
3, with T. B. Taylor as its new President. The 
year 1903, witnef^ed at Mankato the death 
October IC, of Ira P. Schissler, Judge of the 
Municipal Court, and the appointment of Wm. 
N. Plymat as his successor; the building of 
the new Malt house; the Lamm and Lankam- 
]ner block; and the gift to ihe city by M. G. 
Willard of the park along Glenwood Avenue. 

In January, 1904, the cojitract was let by 
the county for a bridge over tlie Minnesota 
river at Judson. February 22, Ernest E. Brown 
resigned as captain of company IL, which posi- 
tion he had held since June 16, 1901. He -Has 
succeeded in the captaincy on March 21, 1904, 
by Fred E. Day. In 1903, a Civic Improvement 
ment League had been organized at Mankato, 
which on March 7, 1904, held its -first annual 
meeting and Mrs. J. H. Eay was chosen presi- 

In March of this year a telephone company was 
formed in Medo, with James Hawkins as presi- 
dent; and in McPherson the St. Clair and 
Belleview Telephone Company was organized, 
with S. S. Babcock as President and Henry 
Thielman, manager. At Amboy the Farmers 
Elevator was sold to a stock company of which 
Thos. Eandall was president. 

The last of March of this year (1904) a new 
paper was started at Madison Lake called the 
"Tribune." It was the fifth venture of the 
kind in that village. Geo. T. Swearingen be- 
came its editor, and Geo. Southwick had charge 
of the printing department. Southwick in 
a short time became sole proprietor. 

In May a new E. P. D. was inaugurated out ^ 
(.f Smiths' Mill, and another from Mapleton, 
and July 15, saw the seventh route start from 
Mankato. In June of this year (1904) Judge 



Daniel Buck completed and published his book 
on "Indian Outbreaks in Minnesota." It treats 
almost wholly of the Sioux massacre of 1862, 
but does not pretend to give a complete history 
of that event. Though rather sketchy in char- 
acter, it is quite a valuable work. 

In this same month of June the St. Clair 
creamery was burned, but was rebuilt soon 
thereafter on a larger and better scale than ever. 
In August the "Farmers Center Telephone Co." 
was organized at Rapidan, with Chas. Sparlich 
as president. September 12, a big Labor Day 
demonstration was held at Mankato, where nearly 
all the wage earners had been fully organized 
by this time. 

In the fall of this year (190-1) F. G. Toland 
opened a second commercial school at Mankato, 
under the name of 'Toland's Business Uni- 
versity." Prof. Chas. C. Owen was put in charge 
and thereafter became its owner. The school has 
grown into an important educational work. The 
last of December, Geo. E. Traub sold the "Man- 
kato Post" to a stock company, and August Blis- 
senbach became its editor. 

During 1904, the present Y. M. C. A. build- 
ing at Mankato was erected at a cost of $32,- 
934.46, and on January 2, 1905, duly dedi- 
cated — the main address being given by Bishop 
Joyce. It is one of the best equipped structures 
of its kind in the state. 

About the first of January, 1905, Harry E. 
Carney purchased the Mankato Cement Works, 
which he and his father had operated for some 
years. The same month "The Good Thunder- 
Mapleton Telephone Co.,"' was organized with 
Jl Gainor as president. 

March 1, 1905, the Welsh people held at Man- 
kato another of their big Eisteddfods, -which 
was largely attended. March 13, the Glass 
Block was burned, but the proprietors, Rich- 
ards Bros., nothing daunted by their loss, dur- 
ing the summer erected their present big block 
in its place. 

April 19, the sensational trial of Dr. Koch 
for the murder of Dr. Gebhardt at New Ulm, 
and transferred from Brown to Blue Earth 
County, was begun. It resulted in a disagree- 
ment of the jury, and on the second trial in 
July in the acquittal of Dr. Koch. 

On May 25, 1905, occurred the death at 
Mankato of Judge Daniel Buck, the Nestor of 
the Mankato bar. August 30, of the same year 
E. D. Hubbard died, who for j-ears had been 
the king of the millers of our county. This 
sam.e month a lightning bolt burned the Cable 
Mill. In less than a month E. L. Honk and 
Walter Redfern built at Good Thunder a new 
grist mill to take its place, and a year later a 
new mill was erected on the old site by Jos. 

April 19, 1905, a bill was passed by the 
Legislature creating "Minneopa Park" and ap- 
propriating $5,000 to purchase the necessary 
grounds. In October Gov. Johnson, Atty. Gen'l. 
Young and State Auditor Iverson inspected the 
proposed park and in connection with a com- 
mittee of the ]\rankato Board of Trade composed 
of Dr. J. W. Andrc-wti, Thos. Hughes and C. 
N. Andrews arranged the purchase of the fam- 
ous falls and about thirty-five acres of laud 
adjoining. This was increased a few months 
later by the purchase of about twenty-five acres 
more from the town of South Bend. J. B. Hodge 
was appointed its first superintendent, and in 
1907 he was succeeded bv Wm. R. Williams. This 
year (1905) v/itnessed a change in the railway 
depot and tracks at Lake Crystal; the celebra- 
tion of its golden jubilee by the Salem Congre- 
gational church of Cambria, on Nov. 10; the 
remodeling of the Union Hall building at Man- 
kato into the Heinrich Hotel; and the organi- 
zation at Mankato of the "Southern Minne- 
sota Fair Association." 

The year 1906, saw Immanuel Hospital built 
at Mankato, by the German Lutheran churches; 
the organization of the "Mankato Commercial 
club," with W. L. Hixon as President, to suc- 
ceed the old board of trade; the organization in 
July of the "German American State Bank" of 
Mankato, with W. C. Henline as cashier; and 
the formation in July of the St. Clair State 
Bank," with Nick Juliar as president and Henry 
Thielman as cashier. 

This year and the following year witnessed 
the building of the Alphabet Railway as a 
branch of the Milwaukee system from Albert 
Lea through Medo and McPherson to St. Clair, 
the first train arriving at the latter point in 



the Fall of 1907. A new townsite called Pern- 
berton was started in section one of Medo on the 
line of this railroad in November, 1907. 

In August, 1907, the Lake Crystal Milling 
Company failed and in 1908 the plant was pur- 
chased by Christian S. Christensen of Madelia. 
In the summer of 1907 the M. E. church of Man- 
kato erected their present elegant house of wor- 
ship at a cost of $30,000. The building was dedi- 
cated with appropriate services December 8, 1907. 
December 20, 1907, St. Clair voted to incorporate 
as a village by a vote of 40 to 9, and at the elec- 
tion held January 2, 1908, the following ofOicera 
were chosen: Trustees, Henry Thielman, presi- 
dent; E. A. Deumeland, P. H. Bowe, and J. 
W. Chase; recorder, Chas. O'Connor; treasurer, 
M. C. Dalton; Justice, Chas. O'Connor and 
Christ Aeters; constables, Henry Luedke and 
A. T. Andrews. The assessor's returns for 1907 
showed that the county possessed 11,744 horses, 
28,G77 cattle, 6,931 sheep, 15,444 hogs, 745 me- 
lodians and organs, 867 pianos, 45 automobiles. 
Within a year the number of the latter have 
more than doubled. 

During 1907-8 Mankato has seen the Steam's 
Block pass into the hands of the National 
Citizens Bank who have remodeled the same into 

an elegant bank and office building; and it 
has seen the old Shoemaker Hall building re- 
placed by the fine four story Hickey-Cough- 
lan Block, now occupied by Fred Kruse. A 
large new building, too, has been added to the 
Normal school and a splendid electric street 
]'ailway system has been in operation since May, 
]908. So while the city was visited during 
July and August, 1908, by a typhoid fever epi- 
demic, which killed about forty of its people, 
due to an accidental contamination of its water 
supply, yet as we close this last page of our 
county's history our county seat is rapidly grow- 
ing in numbers, wealth aijd power, as becomes the 
metropolis of Southern Minnesota. The great 
county of Blue Earth has, indeed had an event- 
ful history during the fifty and more years it 
has been settled by white people, but much more 
eventful, doubtless will the historian of the 
future find its annals for the next fifty years. 
From its commanding position, natural resources 
and many splendid advantages this charming 
"Undine region," as in the past, must in the fu- 
ture be the center of the wealth, power and in- 
fluence of the southern half of our great com- 


With Chapter XXIII ends the general history 
oi the county; but having on hand a mass of 
material, mostly pertaining to special neighbor- 
hoods, we concluded to use it in a history of each 
township in the county. Moreover each town has 
its own peculiar local history and it seemed 
iitting that each be told separately. Since these 
township histories were printed some important 
data relating mostly to Lime, Old Mapleton and 
Sterling Center has come to hand. For the in- 
formation regarding Mapleton the author is in- 
debted to J. H. Cornell and Wm. Wilde and as 
to Sterling to Josiah Hussell of Pasadena, Cal. 
and G. B. Doty of Spicer, Minn. Mr. Wilde 
now resides at Alameda, Cal., and has passed his 
89th birthday, yet his mind seems as clear and 
vigorous as ever. We append the data furnished 
that it may be read in connection with the his- 
tories of the respective towns. 

LIME (Page 259). The name was suggested by 

George Stannard and Little because of the 

abundant lime stone found therein. The first school 
was taught by Rev. B. Y. Coffin in District No. 9 
(now N"o. 44) in the winter of 1856-7. A log school 
house had been erected the previous fall a few rods 
east of the present building in section 29. In the win- 
ter of 1857-8 Asa C. Barney taught the school. He 

was followed by Abraham Baker and Skinner. 

Then beginning with the winter of 1862-3, A. C. Bar- 
ney became its teacher again for three successive 
terms. The old log school house was used imtil 1866, 
when the log house of David Steel was purchased and 
served as school room until the erection of the brick 
school house in 1875. A copy of the school . roll for 
the term beginning Nov. 9, 1857, has been preserved 
by Mr. Barney and is as follows: 

James Buckley. 

Alexander Campbell (Lynched by New Ulm mob). 

Charles W. Campbell. 

Nancy M. Campbell. 

Virginia C. Campbell. 

Narry J. Campbell. 

A. I. Laflin. 

Orin Laflin. 

Orlin Laflin. 

Jane A. Laflin. 

Phoebe E. Laflin (now Mrs. Burt). 

George J. Stannard. 

Hiram R. Stannard. 

Thaddeus C. S. Stannard. 

Charles J. Stannard. 

Benjamin F. Stannard. 

Arthur R. Steel. 

Mary A. Steel. 

Emily Steel. 

I-Ienry G. Henderson. 

Alonzo A. Henderson. 

Lewis A. Henderson. 

ilorris Hund. 

Mary M. Hund. 

Michael Thomas. 

William Thomas. 

Nicholas Thomas. 

John Penrith. 

Christian Hub. 

Christian C. S. Christensen. 

John J. Webber. 

Catherine Webber (Mrs. Mahowald). 

Henry Goodrich was chairman of the school board 
and under the law of that day had to examine Mr. 
Barney on his qualifications to teach before employing 

Lime has one railway station called "Benning," lo- 
cated in 1903 at the Junction of the "Great Western" 
and "Milwaukee" railways, and used by both roads. 

OLD 5IAPLET0N (Page 271). The Colony store 
was first kept by Albert A. ^^'essells at his home on 
section 7, Mapleton township. About March 1, 1857, 
Jlr. Wessells resigned as manager of the store and 
Jarvis R. Harrington was appointed to close out what 
remained of the stock. Vincent Wessells was a son 
of A. A. Wessells but he kept no store. 

In 1857 Russell B. Franklin had a double log 
house, about where the residence of the late Robert 
Taylor in section 18 of Mapleton stands and one part of 
the house was used for two or three years as a school 
room. It was known as the "Franklin School House." 
Here was organized the Sterling Congregational church 
and here Jarvis R. Harrington taught the first school. 
In 1858 Jabez B. Clemonts bought a small tra-ct of 
land in Old Mapleton of James Cornell, Sr., and built 
thereon a log building for a hotel, which he so occu- 
pied about two years and in January, 1861, sold it to 
Wm. Wilde, Ira Annis and R. B. Hall as trustee of 
School District No. 45. This building was thereafter 
used as a school heuse until 1867, when a new edifice 
was erected. 

The statement that Middlebrook Bros, rebuilt their 
mill after it was burned in 1863 is not correct. 

STERLING (Page 295). The first store in Sterling 
was opened about 1863 (or may be earlier) by Wm. 
Russell, Sr., at his home in Section 15 on the west 
bank of Rice Creek. In November, 1863, Mr. Russell 




sold his farm to William B. Buell, reserving a- small 
tract in its northeast corner, just east of the creek. 
Here he built him a new home to which he removed, 
in 1864, his store and the post office as stated in the 
history. The Colony store was never in Sterling. The 
first mill at Sterling Center was built by Gideon B. 
Doty and his father, Geo. W. Doty, on Providence 
creek, about 80 rods above its mouth. The second mill 
in this location was built in 1864 by Geo. W. Doty 
and his son, Hiram B. Doty, on the Jlaple near the 
mouth of the creek. This mill was sold in February, 
1866, to Fuller and Miller as stated in the text. 

Prior to 1862 Henry Spickerman had built a mill 
near the westerly shore of Lake Lura on the farm of 
the late James Ellis, Sr. A ditch was dug from the 
lake into a marsh for the mill race and u. windmill 
erected to furnish power in dry weather. About 1862, 
Spickerman sold this mill to Alpheus M. Hewitt, who 
had Gideon B. Doty run it. 

The mill of McCormlck and Smith mentioned on 
page 295, was located at Middletown on the old Wm. 
Randall fa,rm. In the fall of 1872, McCormick and 
McQueen moved this mill to the Cobb river in Beau- 
ford and later sold it to David Hanna. 

The first school in Sterling Center was taught on 
the second floor of the Doty store building about 1866, 
by H. Baker. The first sermon was preached in the 
same room by Rev. J. E. Conrad. 


This town was a part of the Winnebago re- 
servation until the removal of these Indians in 
1863. It is drained by both the Little and Big 
Cobbj which form a junction near the center of 
its eastern half. Below this junction there is 
ciuite a bodj' of timber along the united streams. 
On the eaist boundary is located Perch Lake a 
body of shallow water nearly a mile in diame- 

In 1858 the County Commissioners named the 
town "Winneshiek" after a prominent chief of 
the Winnebagoes. At a meeting held in the 
winter of 1865-G, preparatory to the organiza- 
tion ■ of the town, it was decided, at the sugges- 
tion of Albert Gates, to change the name to 
'T3eauford" after a town in the east, from which 
some of the settlers had come. Accordingly at a 
meeting of the County Commissioners held 
March 13, 1866, on petition of Chap. McBeth and 
twenty-six others, the town was created under 
the name of "Beauford" and the first town 
meeting appointed to be held at the house of 
John Prey in April. 

This meeting elected the following ofEicere. 
Supervisors, John Frey, Chairman; Johakim 
Meeske and Frank Peters; Clerk, Albert Gates. 

The first actual settler was James Morrow, 
Sr., who came to Danville from Ontario, Can., 
:March 17, 1864, and during the summer claimed 
the northwest quarter of section 35, Beauford, 
upon which he went to live with his family 
about September 1, 1864. They were an excel- 
lent Scotch family, and the names of the child- 
ren, some of whom were then grown up, were: 
James, John, Jane, Mary, (Mrs. Miliken,) Jeu- 
nette (Mrs. Alec Ellis), Agnes (Mrs. M. Han- 
na), Barbara, (Mrs. Thos. Hanna), William, 
Robert and Margaret. Many of these and their 
descendants are still among the prominent resi- 
dents of the town. Other settlers of 1864 were 
Albert J., Arza, and Seth C. Gates, and Josiah 
Rogers, who located in the northern part of 
the town. 

Among the settlers of 1865, were John Frey, 
John Rath, Samuel Larkin, John L. Larkin, 
Matthew McCarthy, Patrick Howley, John Laf- 
f;,', Peter Sprager, John W. Brill, Chas. N. 
Nelson, Samuel D. Brown, Chas. Cowley, Colin 
and Chas. McBeth, Ole Larson, John Maygue, 
James Gordon, Frank Peters, John Biedenkopf, 
Johakim and Christian Meeske. 

Among the settlers of 1866 were: Thos. His- 
lop, Andrew Little, Franklin Child s, J. Dum- 
beck, John Hanna, and George and Jacob Kauf- 
man. In May 1865 a saw mill, built by Dr. 
W. F. Lewis, Basil Moreland and others, and 
in charge of Abel Keene, began operations. It 
was located on the Big Cobb river on the south- 
west quarter of section 4 and for one or two 
years did good service. In February, 1867, a 
new mail route was established running from 
Wilton in Waseca County to Garden City, which 
crossed the Cobb near the residence of Pranlc- 
lin Childs, where in the spring of this year, 
a new postofEice was established with Mrs. 
Frances Childs as postmistress. 

In June, 1868, a second postofEice was estab- 
lished called "Perch Lake,''" with Albert J. 
Gates postmaster. The. office was supplied by a 
mail route running; from Minnesota Lake to 
Mankato. It remained at the home of Gates, 
on northwest quarter of section thirteen imtil 




1871, when Henry Natley was made postmaster, 
and the office moved to his home in section 
twenty-four. This office was discontinued in 
August, 1875. 

School District No. 86 was created by the 
County Commissioners October 1, 1866, on peti- 
tion of Pranklin Childs and others; District 
No. 94 February 36, 1867, on petition of John 
Frey and others, and on the same date District 
No. 95 on petition of John Beidenkopf. 

The first school was taught by Miss Acker- 
man of Medo in the winter of 1866-7 in Dis- 
trict 86. It was kept in the Moreland saw mill 
building near Franklin Childs home. The next 
school was taught in a log school house in Dis- 
trict No. 95 by Elizabeth Keys in the summer 
of 1867 and the next in the winter of 1867-8 
in a frame building belonging to District No. 

Jennie McBeth was probably the first white 
child born in the town. Her birth occured in 
the fall of 1864. Margaret, daughter of Mr. 
and Mrs. James Morrow, was the second white 
child, born June 17, 1865. 

About 1868, John McCormick and Andrew 
Little, purchased and fitted up a saw mill on 
the northwest quarter of section four and opera- 
ted it for about five years. After laying idle 
aboiit two years it was sold to McEJibbin and 
again operated for a time. 

In October, 1874, John Kimpton purchased 
a small tract of land in the northwest quarter 
of section nine and built thereon a small store 
12x20 feet. His stock at first consisted largely 
of tobacco and bitters, and his customers mostly 
were wood choppers and haulers. In June, 
1881, he sold out to Leander F. Fihlev, who 
built a new store building adjoining the old 
one, and made a hall above the new part. The 
old Beauford post office, which Franklin Childs 
had kept for some years had been discontinue's 
in July, 1875, and the town had been without 
a post office for six years. In Julv, 1888, L. F. 
Pinlev was appointed postmaster of a new office 
called, "Beauford," which had just been estab- 
lished at his store. 

Eeligious services were started in school house 
No. 86 in the sixties, and a Siinday School was 
maintained through the efforts of Franklin 

Childs and others. The preaching was supplied 
usually by ministers of the United Brethern. 
After a season of special revival the church 
which had been organized before, was legally 
incorporated February 9, 1884, by the election 
of the following trustees : Sarah F. Childs, Chas. 
Wing and Wm. Hislop. It was called the "Uni- 
ted Brethren Church of Beauford." Eev. Si- 
mon George was pastor and Eev. J. W. Fulker- 
son. Presiding Elder. A lot was secured near 
the store and a fine church building 34x40 feet 
erected during the summer. In the fall of 
1885, the interior was finished and furnished 
with pews. June 20, 1886, occurred the dedica- 
tory services, Eev. Tibbetts preaching the ser- 
mon. Many new members had been recently 
added, and Eev. Fairchild was then pastor. 
There was much rejoicing over the new build- 

Under the United Brethren system the pas- 
tors have frequently changed. In 1899, a lady. 
Miss Edith Gates, filled the pulpit with much 
acceptance; part of the time the church has 
been yoked with Vernon, part of the time witH 
Alma City, in' its pastoral service. It has a 
Sunday School and Ladies' Aid Society. The 
church is still doing splendid service, and is 
the only one now in the township. Preaching 
services and Sunday Schools have been held off 
and on in school houses Nos. 94 and 95 ever 
since they were built. 

The Germans began holding services in pri- 
vate houses and in the school house from the 
earliest period. April 16, 1884, "Salems Church 
of the Evangelical Association" was organized 
at the house of Geo. Kaufmann, and the follow- 
in? Trustees elected: Herman Dumpke, Fred- 
erick Limberg and Jacob Kanfmann. This 
church kept up its services for years, but of 
Inte vears has disbanded and the members gone 
to other churches. In Julv, 1885, Leander F. 
Finlev sold his store to Calvin A. Fleming, who, 
after one vear, rented the store to Chas. Drake, 
who ran it until July, 1887, when Ambrose F. 
Tenney purchased the building and stock. In 
March, 1889, Tenney disposed of the stock to 
Ealph Healev and the building to Fred Cramer. 
Tn lyfar. Mr. Healev was appointed postmaster 
and served in that capacity for many years. In 


ihe eighties Joseph Latourell started a black- years has done yeoman service in the public 

sirnth shop at Beauford Comers (as the place schools of our county. 

was called). He was succeeded by Wm. Sher- Lyceums and debating societies were frequent, 
man. Then came Mr. Johnson, and he was especially in district No. eighty-six for many 
followed by Edward Kuhnke, who ran a black- years, and a band was organized in the town 
smith shop until 1897, when Adolph Laui sue- in 1877. A Town Hall was erected in the late 
ceeded him. About 1887, Frank Nitzel started fall of 1903. A local telephone company has 
a second store at the "Corners," which he ran pressed the lightning into service to bear tBe 
for about a year and was followed for a few farmers' messages, and the ring of the tele- 
months by Amer Eeinhart and Sulbeck. Al)out phone bell is now everywhere heard, where forty- 
1894, Elmer Getty started a new store at the five years ago there was but the whirr of the 
Corners, and in 1896, built his present store rattle snakes tail, 
building, where he still continues. In Septem- BUTTEENUT VALLEY. 
her, 1897, he succeeded Mr. Healey as post- 
master. In the earlier years the mail service For the organization and early history of the 
had been weekly, in the early nineties it was township, when Cambria formed a part of it, 
tri-weekly, and by 1896, it became daily. Au- see history of latter town. Not having any tim- 
gust 15, 1904, the Beauford postofEice was dis- ber within its borders, except small groves, 
continued, as its place had been supplied by around two or three lakes, the town was mostly 
the Free Delivery system. avoided by settlers for the first decade of our 

In March, 1895, a co-operative creamery As- Iiistory. 

sociation was organized with Al Madison, presi- It has no creek or river and the largest of 

dent, and Chas. Hertzberg, general manager, the lakes referred to are Solberg, Strom and 

A building was put up at the "Corners" and on Armstrong lakes. 

June 1, of this year the creamery began opera- In its natural state the whole town was a 

tions, with Omer Mullin as butter maker. It vast rolling prairie, but settlement and the 

was a big success from the start and soon be- planting of hundreds of groves, has greatly 

came one of the largest creameries in the coun- improved its appearance. 

ty, making from $30,000 to $37,000 worth The first settlers came in 1857; In the early 
of butter each year, besides supplying patrons, fall of that year Andrew Strom, a native of 
In October, 1904, Healey sold his stock of Norway, located with his family on the north- 
general merchandise to Omer Mullen, who east bank of Strom Lake in section nineteen, 
built a new store building opposite the creamery About the same time Evan Peterson settled 
and moved the goods therein. "Beauford Cor- with his family on the east side of lake Arm- 
ners" now contains two stores, a blacksmith strong in section twenty. The same fall Thomas 
shop, a creamery, a church, and a number of Thomas and his family moved upon their 
residences. claim on the south side of the lake, which bears 
The fourth school district, No. 149, was their name in section six, and Geo. W. Smith and 
organized November 5, 1889, on petition of Joseph 0. Smith located upon their claims in 
E. E. Fuller and others, and a school house section two. Which of these was the first actual 
erected that winter. District No. 94 built its settler it is bard now to determine, as all came 
present school house iji 1895. A number of about the same time. Andrew Strom has gen- 
the boys and girls of the Beauford schools have erally been given the credit, but there is much 
become prominent in educational work and ground to believe that Geo. W. Smith was the 
other lines. Among them may be mentioned first settler, though it is by no means certain. 
Guy and Ernest Childs, who are principals of A year or two thereafter Knut Strom located in 
schools, and Ed. Sherman, who is a preacher section nineteen and in 1863, Wm. J. Jones 
of the U. B. Church. Among the citizens of and Wm. Griffith located in section one. As 
the town is Chas. Hawes, who for over thirty far as known these weTP all the settlers until 



1863, when the settlement of the tdwn may be 
said to have begun. This year came Chas. H. 
Shelby and Ole Siverson to section ten, Olens 
Solberg to section eight. Christian Erickson, 
Lars JI. Thorstad and Lars Halverson to sec- 
tion twenty-two, David A. Davis to section two 
and George M. Keenan and John Samil to 
section 4. In 1864, came Tolaf Holverson, P. 
0. Hovey, Wm. E. Jenkins, Ole P. Lieberg, 
Owen Pritchard, Kidal Easmussen, Simon Eo- 
land, Benj. T. Kilby, and others. In 1865, 
came Lars Christopherson, E. Kettleson, Thos. 
J. Evans, Gilbert Gunderson, H. Holverson, 
Joel Haycroft, Addison Jones, Billings and 
Lewis Johnson, Ellis Owens, Lars Thompson 
and others. In 1866, came Andrew Tweed, H. 
Hendrickson, Johanness Taarnd, Thron Peter- 
son, Ole Stone, Martin Osten, Nils Thorstad, 
Anton Melby, Fredrick Hanson, Helge Hellek- 
son, H. P. Felch, John E. Jones, Thos. E. 
Evans, Evan J. Evans, John, Edward, Samuel, 
William and David Evans. 

Odin A., son of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Strom, 
born in the fall of 1858, was the first white 
child. The first school was taught at the home 
of Andrew Strom in 1860, and at present there 
are six school districts, with a good school 
house in each. The first religious services were 
conducted by the Norwegians about 1864, at 
private houses, but during the first few years 
they were not very regular as there was no 
resident pastor. Lutheran ministers from Ma- 
delia and Mankato, generally officiated. During 
the seventies and until the erection of the pres- 
ent church edifice in 1883, an occasional service 
was held in the Strom school house (Dist. No. 

Rev. Lars. Gren of Madelia and Rev. H. 
Heggerness of Mankato in those early years 
ministered to the church. It was organized in 
1882, under the name of "The Norwegian Luth- 
eran Church." 

The church building is brick veneered 30x50 
feet with a fine steeple and built as stated in 
tbe summer of 188^. It is located on the north- 
west corner of the southwest quarter of section 
twenty-one, and has a cemetery attached. 

The north half of the town was settled large- 
ly by Welsh people. As early as Decembei 

1866 a Sunday School with fourteen scholars 
was organized -at the log cabin of Thos. E. 
Evans, with John E. Jones as Superintendent. 
The first prayer meeting was held at the same 
place in the evening of the same Sabbath. 
Preaching services were held during the winter 
of 1866-7 at the same house by Revs. E. W. 
Jones, Wm. Eoberts and John W. Eoberts. The 
Sabbath school was moved for a short time to 
the home of Soloman Evans; thence to the 
house of Wm. S. Hughes, and thence in the 
summer of 1867, back to the home of Thos. 
E. Evans, where it remained until the erection 
of a house of worship in 1870. 

The church was organized as a Calvinistic 
Methodist body in May, 1867, at the house of 
Wm. E. Jenkins, by Eev. E. W. Jones. It adopted 
the name "Bethel," and the charter mem- 
bers were John E. Jones, Wm. E. Jenkins, and 
wife, Thos. E. Evans and wife, Evan, J. Evans, 
Mrs. Mary Francis, Mrs. Elizabeth Evans, Mrs. 
Eobert D. Jones, Mrs. Ellis Owens, Mrs. Eobert 
H. Hughes, and Wm. A. Jones and wife. The 
first deacons were John E. Jones, Wm. E. Jen- 
kins, and Thos. Eichards. For three years the 
church met at private houses, like the Sunday 
school, mostly at the house of Thos. E. Evans. 
In the summer of 1870, a church building 20x26 
feet was put up near the southeast comer of sec- 
tion four, which was opened with a quarterly 
meeting September 14 of that year. For pastoral 
service "Bethel" was yoked with "Horeb" church 
of Cambria in 1871. Eev. D. M. Jones was the 
first settled pastor of both churches. The churches 
have continued as one circuit ever since. The old 
building becoming too small, a new edifice was 
erected in 1887. About 1890, the church num- 
bered about 100 members, but since that time 
the membership has been reduced nearly one 
third by death and removals. 

A number of Welsh families Had located 
along the east line of Butternut Valley, too far 
south to attend Bethel church. In connection 
with some Welsh families along the west line 
of Judson they began holding religious ser- 
vices as early as 1868. In the winter of 1868-9 
a Sabbath school was formed at the house of 
Richard R. Williams in section 13, with Mr. 
Williams as superintendent. Preaching and 



prayer meeting services were, also held quite 
frequently at the same place, and at the house 
of Cornelius Williams. The fact that the fami- 
lies were divided between two or three denomi- 
nations delayed the church organization for a 
time. As the majority belonged to the Calva- 
nistie Methodists, a church of that dehomination 
was finally formed in March, 1870, by Eev. 
Wm. Eoberts, assisted by Elder Evan H. Evans, 
of Zion Church. The organization took place 
at the house of Eichard E. Williams, and the 
charter members were: John D. Thomas and 
wife; Cornelius Williams and wife, Eichard 
Lewis and wife, Eichard Williams and wife, 
Evan D. Evans and wife, John H. Hughes 
and wife, and Mrs. Martha Jones. The church 
was called Moriah and a chapel was started 
this year. In 1865, a little misunderstanding 
had arisen in the synod of the Cal. Methodist 
churches, which soon became a serious quarrel 
and rent all the churches of the synod into two 
factions, one of which united with the Presby- 
terians,, and a number of churches of that de- 
nomination were started in the Welsh settle- 
ment. In 1870, the disaffection was at its 
height and the center of the disturbance was 
in the vicinity of this Moriah church. This 
year the Presbyterians were induced to erect 
a $2,000 building on the center of the east 
line of section eighteen of Judson. This de- 
laved the completion of the Moriah chapel until 
April, 1873, when the church took a new lease 
of life, completed its organization bv electing 
John D. Thomas and Cornelius Williams, as 
its first, elders, moved its chapel three fourths 
of a mile south, to the north quarter stake of 
the east line of section 24, in Butternut Val- 
ley and put it in shape for occupancv. The 
name of the church was also changed to "Sal- 
em." Bv 1881-2 the quarrel in the Cal. Meth. 
churches had become a thing of the past: and 
the Presbyterian churches among the Welsh 
evervwhere disbanded, and the people returned 
to their first love. This left the big new edi- 
fice on section eighteen, Judson, empty on the 
hands of the Presbytery. In 1886, the Salem 
church purchased it, and disposing of their 
other building, which was much smaller, moved 
it to the present site. 

Ministerially the church has been on the same 
circuit with Jerusalem and Lake Crystal, in 
charge of Eev. David Edwards, of the latter 
place. Number 12, was the first school Dis- 
trict organized in the town. District No. 78 
was organized March 13, 1866, on petition of 
Eobert H. Hughes, and others. District 114 
was organized on June 23, 1868 on petition of 
Wm. Prancis and others, and No. 115 on the 
same date on petition of H. P. Pelch and 

In the spring of 1894, the Lake Shore Cream- 
ery was started on the southeast corner of sec- 
tion twenty and in June of the same year a 
new post office was established there called 
'T3utternut" with Christian Strom as postmas- 
ter. About the same time a co-operative store 
was opened at the same point in charge of 
Charlie Johnson. In July, 1895, Gilbert Gut- 
tersen became postmaster, and in January, 1899, 
he was succeeded by Ole Eoudestvedt. A feed 
mill, blacksmith shop, harness and shoemaker 
shop, meat shop, livery, hotel, town hall built 
in 1897, together with the Norwegian church, 
creamery, store, and postoffice made "Butter- 
nut" quite a center for the town. The post- 
office was discontinued five or six years ago and 
the town supplied by rural routes with daily 
mail, and a farmer's telephone company supplies 
all needs in that line. The town is one of the 
most fertile and its people are prosperous. 


Cambria and Butternut Valley were one muni- 
cipality until 1867, under the latter name, but 
until after 1862, the settlement was confined 
almost exclusively to the portion now called 
Cambria, along the Minnesota and Little Cot' 
tonwood Eivers and Cambria Creek. The ad- 
vantages of timber, water and drainage which 
these three streams afforded, made this frac- 
tional township more desirable to settlers, and 
no town in the county is more picturesque. 
The first claims were located about June 6, 
1855, by Morris Lewis, David A. Davis and 
David Evans on parts of sections 25, 26 and 35; 
but the first to build a cabin and actually set- 
tle in the town was John E. Davis. He and liis 
family, consisting qI his wife, a grown up soil, 



William E. Davis, two daughterSj Sarah (now 
Mrs. Wm. E. Lewie of Lake Crystal) and Eliz- 
abeth (widow of the late Eichard Jones of 
Cambria) drove in a covered wagon from Big 
Eock, 111., and arrived on the west line of Jud- 
son on the 12tli of June. Mr. Davis at once 
located his claim on the southwest quarter of 
section 26, built a small log cabin and moved 
thereto about the 15th of the same month. 

About July 10, 1865, came David J. Davis 
and David J. Williams from near Palrdyra, 
Ohio, and made claims on the Minnesota bot- 
tom, at the mouths of Cambria Creek and the 
Little Cottonwood. The families reached their 
new homes the following November, coming all 
the way from Palmyra in covered wagons, a 
tedious journey full of many adventures. 

The Williams family at this time consisted 
of David J., William J. and Daniel L., three 
bachelor brothers, who lived with their mother. 
July, 1855, John Nicholson located upon the 
"Little Prairie'" with his family. In August 
of this year George Gilley and family, Alfred 
S. Van Patten, Samuel B. Shaw and Peter 
Bandy located in the northwest corner of the 
town, north of the Cottonwood. A daughter 
of Mr. and Mrs. Gilley named Hattie was the 
first white child born in the town. Her birth 
occurred February 11, 1856, but she died in 
childhood. Catherine, daughter of Mr. and 
Mrs. David J. Davis, born April 7, 1856, was 
the second white child. She is now Mrs. 
Toothacker, of Martin County. 

In July, 1855, David Y. Davis, took a claim 
in Section 20, and in the spring of 1856 his 
brother, Evan J. Davis, made a claim in the 
same section and the two brothers, with their 
mother, located there about August of that year. 
In the fall of 1855 Hugh R. Williams and fam- 
ily arrived from Wisconsin. May, 1856, came 
John Shields and his family from Pomeroy, 
Ohio. In June Henry Hughes, who had located 
in Judson the previous fall, took a claim on 
Cambria creek and removed thereto in July. In 
May, 1856, a large Welsh colony had arrived at 
South Bend from Jackson and Gallia Counties, 
Ohio, and a large portion of it in June settled 
in the present town of Cambria. Among these 
were: Dr. David Davis and wife and their 

grown up children, David, John, Peter, and 
xMary S. Davis; Mr. and Mrs. David P. Davis 
and their children, Daniel, David, Eben, Mary 
and j\largaret and two younger sons, liichard 
Morgan and wife and their grown up children, 
James, Isaac, Elizabeth and Mary, John Wal- 
ters and his family, William P. Jones and fam- 
ily, David Price and family and Thos. D. 
Lloyd and wife. 

Early in July of this year came Eev. Jenkin 
Jenkins and family and David ilorris and wife. 
During the summer Wm. Hughes, Griffith 
Thomas, Samuel D. Shaw, Jolm JSTickelson and 
families located in the town. 

The first religious service was probably held 
the latter part of June, 1856, in a shanty on 
the claim of David Y. Davis, temporarily oc- 
cupied by John Shields and family. July 3, 
1856, at the log cabin of David P. Davis, Sec- 
tion 19, was organized the first religious body. 
It was the present Welsh Calvinistic Methodist 
church of "Horeb," so named in honor of a 
church in Ohio, from which most of its mem- 
bers had come. Eev. Eichard Davis, then of 
South Bend, was the officiating clergyman. 
The charter members as far as known were : 
Dr. David Davis and wife and their children, 
Jolm, Peter, and Mary S.; John Walters and 
wife, and their son, John, David P. Davis and 
wife and their children, Daniel and John; John 
Shields and wife, William P. Jones and wife, 
David S. Davis and wife, Thomas Lloyd and 
wife, Eichard Morgan and wife, their son, 
James Morgan, and his betrothed. Miss Mary 
Davis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David P. 
Davis. Eight after the organization service 
James Morgan and Miss Mary Davis were 
united in marriage at the same place and by 
the same clergyman, being the first marriage in 
town. The first death occurred in August, 
1856, in the family of David Price. While this 
family were busy moving from their first claim 
shanty to a larger log cabin, one of their little 
children managed, when alone for a few mo- 
ments, to set fire to itself and the shanty, and 
was so badly burned, that it died in a few 

After the organization of Horeb church, re- 
ligious services were regularly observed every 



Sabbath after the manner of the Welsh. In 
the morning a sermon or prayer meeting, in the 
afternoon a Sunday school was held. The 
first year these services were usually held alter- 
nately at the homes of David P. Davis and 
John Walters, but in 1857 a vacant cabin on 
the claim of Evan J. Davis was used. In a 
grove near this cabin was held June 24 and 
25, 1857, the first quarterly meeting in the 

The winter of 1856-7, as we have noted in 
our main history, was extremely cold, and the 
only cases in the Welsh settlements of death by 
freezing occurred on the evening of the sixth 
of January, 1857. That day Wm. Hughes and 
GrifEith Thomas had gone to New Ukn, ten 
miles distant on foot to get some provisions for 
their families. Before returning they foolishly 
indulged in some liquor. This, with the bit- 
ter cold, brought upon them a deadly stupor, 
and the next day their bodies were foimd 
within a mile of home, just where the old Ft. 
Eidgely road crossed the head of Bennett Creek, 
on the present farm of James Price. The sad 
event cast a gloom over the whole neighborhood, 
and the spot of their burial, eighty rods west 
of the Horeb church, was long known to the 
pioneers as "The Grraves." 

During his residence at Eevena, Ohio, David 
J. Davis had operated a saw mill, and he knew 
of a second hand steam saw mill, with a small 
corn grinding attachment for sale cheap, and at 
his suggestion David P. Davis returned to Ohio 
this winter and purchased it. On arrival in 
Cambria late that summer the mill was set 
up in the Cottonwood valley on David P. Davis' 
farm, and, with the aid of David J. Davis, 
who understood milling, it was started, and 
during the winter of 1857-8 quite a little lum- 
ber was cut and com roughly ground for the 
johnny cake and hasty pudding of the period. 
About the first fruits of this mill was lumber 
for Horeb church. This church was erected 
during the summer and fall of 1858, by Andrew 
Friend at a cost of $800 and was 28x35 feet in 
size. Its frame was heavy white oak and good 
for centuries. It was all made of the best 
native lumber and for many years was the 

largest house of worship in the Welsh settle- 

December 25, 1856, a Bible society was 
formed at the house of Davis P. Davis, with 
Dr. David Davis as President, Eev. Jenkin 
Jenkins secretary and David P. Davis, Treas- 
urer, called "The Blue County Welsh," which 
the first year raised $46.30 as a donation to the 
New York society. This society has held its 
annual meeting on Christmas day ever since, 
has sent over $2,000 to the Bible cause, and is 
still flourishing. 

In those early years the locality was generally 
called the "Cottonwood Settlement" from the 
Cottonwood river. At a meeting of the inhabi- 
tants held in December, 1856, preparatory to 
being organized as a separate election precinct, 
the question of name came up. There was a 
strong disposition to call the municipality 
"Davistown"' as about half of the residents then 
bore that name, and the first settler was John 
E. Davis. Col. S. D. Shaw suggested the name 
"Butternut Valley" as especially appropriate 
because the town contained so many valleys, 
which were full of butternut trees. He, also, 
called attention to the word "valley" as being 
a synonym for "fertility" and how valuable a 
timber was the "Butternut." The colonel's elo- 
quence prevailed, and the name "Butternut 
Valley" was adopted. Some time afterwards it 
was learned that Col. Shaw had come from 
"Butternuts" N. Y. which at once explained 
his partiality for that name. 

January 6, 1857, the town was created into a 
separate election precinct, under the above name, 
and the following officers appointed; Judge of 
Election, Geo. Gilley, Eev. Jenkin Jenkins and 
David J. Davis; Justices of the Peace, Eev. 
Jenkin Jenkins and David P. Davis; Consta- 
bles, David J. Williams and David A. Davis. 
The first election was held in the spring of 
1857, at the house of David P. Davis. At the 
general election held in the fall of that year the 
town cast 38 votes, 31 Eepublican and 7 Demo- 
cratic. In 1857, came to the settlement Wm. 
E. Jenkins, James Edwards, Lewis D. Lewis, 
Evan Jenkins, John Eees, Geo. W. Porter, Neil 
Porter and others. A debating society was form- 
ed in the winter of 1857-8 which met usually at 



the house of Evan J. and David Y. Davis, and at 
which Evan Jenkins, an odd genius, figured 
prominently. There were temperance societies, 
einging schools and Fourth of July celebrations, 
and the community was